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SALK Day 4 – The Ruth-Mr. D Story – Part 2

Every student at St. Vincent High School gets to have The Mr. D. Experience in sophomore biology.  One thing that I have come to appreciate about Mr. D. is his enthusiasm.  He will do whatever it takes to help a student love science, or at least learn it.  Mr. D. wore these ugly red-brown shoes just so he could be on his feet, jumping around, all day without being in pain.  He said the wackiest things in class.  One year, students kept track of these DeShazerisms for two weeks and published them in the school newspaper.  I wish I had kept that issue.  I don’t remember what was on the list, but I remember laughing very hard.

MAGIA EN HYDRODICTYON
Image by PROYECTO AGUA** /** WATER PROJECT via Flickr

One thing every student gets out of his class is a strong feeling about the Latin language – either an appreciation for it or complete disdain.  I remember when we were learning about the different types of algae.  He would put a species name on the overhead and cold call on people to try to translate it out of the Latin.  Every time he did this, I would cringe and pray that he wouldn’t call on me, kind of like the way I cringed and cowered in Professor Clinton’s Constitutional Law class my 1L year.  I now realize that he didn’t expect us to know the answer, but he wanted us to try.  As the year progressed, we learned a handful of Latin word roots: hydro = water, philic = loves, phobic = fears, chloro = green, rhodo = red, etc.  They were useful to know while I was studying vocabulary for the GRE and still come in handy with random legal terms.

I remember one day he put up a species name and said, “Ruuuuth, would you like to translate out of the Latin?” I honestly answered, “No.”  I think he was surprised by my response but realized that he asked a question instead of give a direction.  He turned to my friend sitting next to me and said, “BJ, you’re her lab partner.  You translate it out of the Latin.”  I never tortured my lab partner like that again.

Looking back on my biology class, I remember doing a lot of labs.  It wasn’t enough for us to talk about science; Mr. D. wanted us to do science.  Given that he had four full classes of sophomores every day, and only 45 minutes per class, that was quite an undertaking.  I’m sure he went home exhausted those days.  We did a lot of work with the microscopes – creating and looking at slides.  We dissected worms, grasshoppers, and frogs.  I remember when we were studying bacteria, each student was given the task of growing bacteria from a different source.  I grew the bacteria that was on the top of my shoe and my lab partner BJ grew the bacteria from the bottom of his shoe.  Neat Stuff!!

Click here for Part 3 of the Ruth-Mr. D Story.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsors are Darvin and Jane DeShazer. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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2 Comments

  1. Sara Shea says:

    I took this class the following year when I transferred in (silly public schools doing everything backwards and making me hang out with sophomores when I was a junior). I don’t remember much Latin, but I do remember Mr. D running around like a madman, shouting, “NEAT STUFF!” and “GONADS!” and making me love every second of class. Ahh, and I remember my potted fern, Gertie. Man, flashback central!

  2. Darv DeShazer says:

    Ruth,
    I kept a copy of that issue of the OnLooker and I will send you a pdf of it.
    Enjoy again,
    MrD