Retro RFH English Teacher Appreciation

RFH English teachers of the 1970s
Photo/RFH yearbook

What would Teacher Appreciation Day be without a little ode to those who unwittingly set a writer on her twisted path to write — about them?

They are the English teachers at RFH. Back in the 1970s, they comprised quite the crew of educators. They taught us how to communicate more effectively. They chided us for using improper grammar. They expected better when they knew we were capable of the best. They glommed onto the small details that mattered in stringing a better sentence together with the peskiness of a dangling participle.

They pored over our prose and poetry, never drowning our individual creativity, only rescuing the right words from a run-on tide of too many. (And still I find myself wondering what they’d do with that last sentence.)

They taught us how to write what we knew, what we know. Our truths. Our tales.

And we know that whether the teaching style was stern, eccentric, laid back or gutsy with a gush of chutzpah, each had his or her own piece in our RFH learning jigsaw. It all fit. Nothing puzzling about it.

So, this is the RFH alum writer’s rough copy ode to those whose words mattered in the making of a never-final draft.

Those red-penned personalities matter in the making and forever honing of the written word. Each made its bold or soft, but always colorful, mark.

So, pen this: Of those RFH English teachers pictured, who was the most stern? Most eccentric? Laid back? Gutsy? Most important lesson learned from each?

A couple of these RFH English teachers were actors and singers as well. Sometimes that goes with the writer’s territory. Mimi Hughes was one of them. Lloyd Gross was another. RIP to both.

Bob Berberich, who died at a young age, was known to have an innovative teaching style. He held “court” with many young aspiring writers. He missed the group picture that year.

We’re sure he’d have a story about that, too.

So many stories, so much time … gone by.

Write on, RFH English teachers!