In 1983 Newfoundland introduced grade 12; consequently, there was a need to hire teachers. I was offered a position at Herdman Collegiate in Corner Brook to teach chemistry and physics. Howard Bugden was my department head and mentor. I was in good hands and, throughout my career, I used ideas and tricks-of-the-trade he shared with me. Sadly, he never got to enjoy his retirement. We lost Howard last year, after many years in nursing care. I’ve kept in touch with his wife and I assured her that his spirit lived on in my classroom.
At least I assumed it was a student (I hope it wasn’t a teacher) who wrote MR CAINES IS A CRACKHEAD on the wall outside my office window. It was done with a pencil but written on wooden shingles, so after being erased one could still see the indentations in the wood. But what really impressed me was the fact that the student wrote MR CAINES not CAINES. Not only did they spell my named correctly but s/he addressed me with MR – now that shows respect.
A question I liked asking teachers, particularly younger ones, is what they thought was the ideal class size. The answers, of course, varied and the respondents often quantified it differently depending on the grade level. The definition I always liked was, It is two less than you have now, and you get to pick the two.
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