Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Daily Kos: On Great Teachers and Their Ability to Inspire

Daily Kos: On Great Teachers and Their Ability to Inspire:

My life was changed by the late Bob Trevor, my teacher in several English classes I took at Pasadena City College after the army. I was planning to go to UCLA but there was a hitch: all my Cal Tech credits were on the quarter system (as here), UCLA was on the semester system, so I found myself a fraction of a unit short on several required basic courses. I had to repeat them. Bureaucracy! To save money, I did the repetitions at PCC -- and am I glad I did.

Trevor made me an English major. I especially remember his Modern Poetry class and the way he began it.. He would read a poem -- twice. A poem not in our textbook. He forbid discussion of it! Just listen carefully, he said. Understanding will come and be easier as we progress through the term. He was right. The poem was more important than its interpretation.

We became friends and I visited him in Honolulu after he retired. Every Christmas he sent me a case of macadamia nuts. He put me up when I few to Columbia after winning a play contest. He was VP of a community college in Kansas City then. He was a big drinker at the time, as I was, and we put down quite a few in our literary discussions far into the night.

I wish I had a photo of him.

A BIT LATER. I found a 1963 PCC yearbook online (!!) and a photo ... now to figure out how to get it here.

A bit out of focus after enlarging, but here is Bob Trevor, with his signature bow tie, and an open book of poetry, as he might have started a typical class in Modern Poetry, reading a poem twice and forbidding discussion of it, lest its meaning become subservient to its interpretation. Circa 1963.
What you can find on the Internet is amazing!

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