2011-08-12 / Letters

Sanitized History Is Boring History

Dear Editor,

One of the stories that my teacher taught about Abraham Lincoln was that he was a good horse trader. One day another horse trader made a bet with him that he could make a better bargain than old Honest Abe. They both agreed to bring their worst horses and make a trade of them and see who got the best trade. The next day the horse trader shows up with the ugliest, swayed back, flea infested horse the entire town had ever seen. A little while later Abe shows up with a wooden saw horse. Honest Abe looked at the horse trader and said “this is the first time I ever been bested in a horse trade.“ It is stories like these that my teachers would interject while speaking of Honest Abe.

The two minute respite from the droning on of (he was born in, he died in yada, yada, yada,) a story that while maybe not factually true taught us to see something in a different light. Abe was a horse trader (fact). He may or may not have performed this actual trade, but our teachers knew how to grab our imaginations and make learning fun and interesting. I thank all my teachers from PS.42, Mr. Podair, PS 225, Mrs. Silverman, Mrs. Schapp, JHS 198, Mr. Bienculli, Mr. Deedee (did not have his class but played handball with him at lunch and learned more about social studies on that court than any other place.) REAL teachers teach life (whether old or new) and open our minds to explore. These are the teachers that new teachers should be forced to look at to learn what it takes to be a REAL teacher; at whom the BoE should look and emulate. The people who took the time to reach out and who give a little more than a textbook and a 40-minute class. To them I say, “We who are about to live salute you.” (I made it slightly different from the actual quote.) If you do not understand the last line then you did not have one of those types of teachers. Thank you all for making me a successful person in business and life itself.

BING STRASSBURG

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