Saturday, April 2, 2016

high school teacher....

So yesterday I wrote in the vague place, when i need to keep something private and I am less specific. It is never as interesting or relatable. The details are where we connect.

I had this teacher in high school, Mr. Pugelli. He was really cool, incredibly intelligent and a great teacher . He taught a class called the American Dream. We read Ken Keasy and The Hell's Angels. Great books with depth that we could really learn a lot about life from. As a teacher he wanted his high school students to have real tools in the world and he was so smart about how he taught them. We read a book, I forget if it was How to Influence People, or How to n Negotiate Anything, anyway it was classic that went over my head. I was not starting at the starting line, I was 59 miles behind the line and not ready for such sophisticated stuff, but it got in my head and I never forgot the examples he brought up and the points he made.

Even though i was a straight A student, I always got low grades on my papers for him. He was all practicality, business and sense with a little cool thrown in and I was a radical, an idealist, nieve and an artist. He wasn't having my bs.  One paper was if we had 5 minutes alone with the president what would we ask him. Reagan, what would I say to him? I wrote that I would say nothing, that he would not listen and that basically he was an asshole. I got a  C. he wrote back that no is the end, yes is the beginning. conversations open the door, something like that. We were both right. He was righter. He believed that there was always something  you could say. I believe that too, today. For my last paper with him, it was why is affirmative action good  or bad. He taught us why he did not believe in affirmative action - because you got in not on your own merits and you would still feel "less than" (Please  forgive me for any inexactness, I am  paraphrasing  30 years later). 

He made good points, but also came from white male privilege. I understood both sides. Most, if not all of the kids on the school did not have to worry about paying for college. My family never finished paying for my high school. they did not have the money, so the ditched the last tuition. I never got my hs diploma because of debt. i had already gotten a big scholarship because i was bright, from my father's union. It was not enough to go to NYU. I already knew I was smart. However, NYU was going to give me another scholarship because I was bright and my school had gotten me to be the news paper editor to enhance my profile, and being Latina was probably going to help. I had never gotten much of anything, so I loved affirmative action.

For the paper, i wrote....


Cliff hanger, come back tomorrow....

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