THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Tales from the old-timer
Issue Date: December 12, 2012
A Visit From Mr. Pfisterer
I was in my 4th year of teaching English in Orangeville, Ill., and was assigned 2 sections each of Junior-Senior English. I had assigned my students in English 12 (Seniors) to give a talk of up to 5 minutes each on their familys plans for Christmas.
By coincidence, the County Superintendent chose to visit my class that day, and my kids did really well in this short speech assignment. As we did not offer public speaking as a class, we worked in some of it in our English program.
Mr. Pfisterer and his Deputy, Clyde, took seats in the rear of the room, as Pfisterer had some supervisory function in all the rural and village schools in Stephenson County, where we were located.
After 8 or 10 of the students had given their short talks, and done very well, I thought, Clyde cleared his throat and asked me where I had got my teacher training. I answered the University of Wisconsin. Clyde asked me where the school was located. I told him it was about 50 miles north of Orangeville in Madison, Wisconsin.
Then Mr. Pfisterer cleared his throat and said, Say, how much grammar do you teach?
I was amazed by the question, and replied I taught all of it, depending on the course outline, and individual differences among the students in my class.
I thought after they both had left the room, that Pfisterers question was like as if an instructor at the US Naval Academy had been asked how much navigation he taught to the Navy Cadets he was teaching. I thought further that both mens questions were prompted by critical negativism and will remember it always.