Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ten Most Impactful Teachers...

... on me.

This is not about personality but about moments or courses of impact.

1. Fifth grade: Mr. Guinn, Wilton Manors Elementary School
He shared with us at one point that he ran 5 miles a day.  At the time, I thought that was astounding.  It was part of the inspiration to be a runner (I thought of doing this while running a few minutes ago ;-).

2. Tenth through Twelfth: "Uncle Mel" Atkinson, Fort Lauderdale High School (FLHS)
I took Chem 1, 2, and 3 with him.  I did a search on him yesterday and see he died in 2009.  He was my favorite high school teacher.  He was a "populist" teacher, which means he took a lot of time to talk about life and take everyone along, not just the people interested in Chemistry like me.  I became a Chemistry major initially in college under his influence.

3. Eleventh and Twelfth: Phil Pickett, FLHS
I mentioned him in my post yesterday.  Had him for Trig/Analytic Geometry and Calculus.  Probably the best teacher I've ever had anywhere.

4. Twelfth: Larry Stock, FLHS
Had him for Humanities.  Man, the teachers at my high school were as good as any I ever had anywhere.  In two semesters we went from the Sumerians to the Impressionists.  We did art, architecture, philosophy, world history.  We read the Republic.

I remember him telling us about a couple of his former students who traveled Europe after high school who understood so much more from his class.  I experienced it too when I went off to England to do my doctorate.  He taught us what a "flying buttress" was ;-)

Died about three years ago, I think.  Some of my class who still live in Lauderdale went to the funeral.  Again, a lot of colleges couldn't match my high school, a public school, no less.  I don't have room to mention Mr. Hatley or Ms. McGuire or Mrs. Gaus or Mr. Packard...

5. College: Martin LaBar
I had other profs I was closer to in college, several who were very memorable and whom I still call friends (Bob Black was probably my favorite overall, but Drs. Schmutz, Bross, Sinnamon, Dongell, and Elliott were also memorable).  But the class that would eventually have the most impact on my thinking in college was a 1 hour integrative course where we read (or at least were supposed to ;-) Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Dr. LaBar was a genetics professor who is known to lurk in these blog parts.  I didn't have him for any other course, but this book is surely one of the top ten books to read to reach enlightenment.

6. Seminary: Bob Lyon, Asbury Seminary
Dr. Lyon has passed now.  I learned Textual Criticism from him and his article on baptism in the New Testament taught me an attempt at objectivity in handling evidence I had known in science but not in religion.  Dr. Lyon was not perfect, but he was brilliant and led the "LO Society," "Loyal Opposition" to the generic stream of mindless conformity that so often typifies the status quo.

7. Seminary: David Bauer
Asbury truly taught me how to aim at objectivity in biblical scholarship.  I learned IBS, baby, Traina style.  Dr. Bauer is truly a scientist of inductive Bible study.  By the way, Lawson Stone was also awesome, just out of Yale at the time.  He was enthusiastic and creative, exactly the kind of person you picture when you picture a genius.

8. University of Kentucky: Lewis Swift
He wouldn't know me from Adam.  The dog-gone guy was Dean of UK and adjuncting a class in Virgil's Aeneid in Latin.  The guy was wicked smart and dropped French and Latin phrases into his everyday speech without thinking.  He wasn't putting on airs.  He really thought like that.  Other great professors there: Jane Phillips, Robert Rabel, Hubert Martin.

9. Durham: James D. G. Dunn
Truth be known, Dr. Lyon's piece on baptism is little more than Dunn's Baptism in the Spirit, a book that like all of Jimmy's books is a model of objectivity.  You may not like his recent, Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?, but you will scarcely find anyone else so willing to follow the evidence to what seems to him to be its logical conclusion as Dunn.

10. Durham: Loren Stuckenbruck
He's now chair of the Biblical Studies department at Princeton Seminary.  One of the smartest people I have ever met.  No one need ever worry about me thinking I'm smart.  I'm a complete moron compared to people like Loren.  I have seen genius and it is not I.

I should give honorable mention to David Bundy who, rumor had it, learned Dutch one weekend in Amsterdam.  He wasn't at Durham but was a master linguist like Loren.  Bundy was librarian at Asbury when I was there.  I did an independent study with him in Aquinas at Asbury.  He's currently librarian at Fuller.

How's that?  I wish anyone out there at any stage of their education the chance to study with minds like these!


James Gibson said...

David Bauer is truly an under-appreciated genius.

Anonymous said...

I was blessed to study with you which tells me that you are leaving the impressions upon me that your teachers did you.

May God bless me with that same ability as He already has you!

Alan Downing
IWU winter 2008 grad

Brian Small said...

I had both Lyons and Bundy for classes at Asbury, and Swift and Martin at UK. Oddly, I never had a class with Bauer.

Martin LaBar said...

Still lurking.


It's Sinnamon, by the way.

Ken Schenck said...

But he was a sweet professor ;-)

lawson_stone said...

Thanks Ken, for that very fine and kind word. You were one very impressive student.

Martin LaBar said...

Groan . . .

Anonymous said...

Ken, I found your post as I was reminiscing about some of my great teachers from FLHS. I was class of 1992 and was fortunate enough to have Uncle Mel and Mr. Stock in there last year of teaching at FLHS. Thanks for sharing your mutual experience with them, amazing teachers...

Anonymous said...

Hello Ken. I don't know why, but last night I thought of Uncle Mel and googled his name. And your blog popped up first on the list. I thought your recognition of our high school teachers was very thoughtful and appropriate. Hope all is well and best wishes, Steve Tilbrook

Ken Schenck said...

Hope you're doing well too Steve. I saw that they're tearing down Ireland's--was thinking about high school last night too.