One of the books that I am very grateful for having picked up at an airport book store is a charming collection of letters to and from Richard Feynman titled Don’t you have time to think? Amongst the compilation is a touching exchange between Feynman and his high school Physics teacher, Abram Baden.
The teacher wrote congratulating his former student on winning the Nobel Prize, observing humorously that if the Committee had known that Feynman had once been his student, they would have had no choice in conferring the Prize on him! Feynman replied in a similarly light vein, and also recounted how he had once been called aside by Baden during his school years – to be told that he made far too much noise in class.
However, Baden had added that he knew why this was so: Feynman was plainly bored.
So Baden gave him Wood’s Calculus to read, telling him to sit at the far end of the class, and not to bother focusing on his Physics lessons – but to occupy himself with Wood’s book. Feynman now wrote thanking his teacher for giving him that chance of self-tutoring in Calculus.
I was struck by the amazing connect between the teacher and his pupil. Quite clearly, this teacher had understood his student very well.
This excerpt led me to reflect on how close Feynman had come to being scolded, punished and suppressed – had he not had such an understanding teacher. How many people have had that unforgettable moment (or moments) in a class? How many of us have a distinct memory of a teacher who impacted us in a significant manner?
This was the trigger for a forthcoming book from THINKING TEACHER, titled Unforgettable Lessons. In order to put such a book together, may we ask you just two questions:
- Do you hold in your memory any teacher/class that made a huge impact on your thinking or learning?
- If you do, can you describe that teacher/lesson/class by explaining what it was that impacted you so?
We would be very grateful if you could respond in a note that is not more than 1500 words long.
Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Within two weeks of receiving your write up, we will get in touch with you for clarifications.
Thereafter, once we have gathered all entries, we will inform you of whether/when we can include it in the compilation.
Neeraja Raghavan, Founder Director, THINKING TEACHER