Friday, November 9, 2018

Evers reminded me of a favorite teacher. I'll bet other people felt it, too.

At some point soon, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will join the Fat Cats' big-check-rubber-chicken speaking circuit and pundits will move on from 'how did Tony Evers do it?' to 'how's Evers doing?'

So let me share one thought I'd not found a spot for in all the issue-reporting I did about the campaign - - (you want a recent, 21-part series on the environment, well, have at it)  - - and it goes something like this:

I think everyone has a favorite teacher, and I'll bet somewhere in the calculus that determines how we all vote that Evers - - an educator - - 
either reminded us of that favorite teacher or made us really appreciate the very profession which Walker had singled out for special pain through Act 10. 

I was lucky enough to have had a teacher named Doris Hadary, now deceased.  She had taught at nearby American University when I was in high school in suburban Maryland.

I somehow ended up in her Biology class, and clearly in over my head, but Mrs. Hadary one day praised my work in front of the class - - on cell construction, I'll never forget it - - and after class invited me to a series of dress-up evening seminars she was holding at her home to which she invited her university colleagues and scientists from the nearby National Institutes of Health.

There the these docs and Ph.D's read papers and talked about all sorts of science and took questions from the really smart kids - - I never asked one - - and most of it went right over my head.

But her including me in something special as a high school kid mostly interested in baseball and current events really boosted my confidence, helped prepare me for college-level work and no doubt is in part responsible for my interest in science and the environment and the natural world to this day.

So all these years later I attended two public events where Tony Evers spoke. 

Now it's a coincidence that he and Mrs. Hadary had backgrounds in science, but when I saw and heard Evers offering his calm, intelligent remarks and analyses, I could feel the same positive connections I felt when Mrs. Hadary was lecturing, or was introducing one of her seminar guest speakers.

I'll bet plenty of people came away from an Evers event or television appearance having been reminded of a teacher or a school experience they still felt good about.

And appreciated again the value of teaching in the classroom and in the Wisconsin political landscape.

And understood that putting a teacher - - this teacher, with a science background, to boot - - in the Governor's Office was the perfect antidote to eight years of official contempt for education, dialogue, and science.

I'd touched on some this in an earlier post that included a few updates.

Anyway, if you also felt in some way that your favorite teacher was also on the ballot, and still matters, weigh in.


Peter Felknor said...

Barbara Harras. She taught physics and math at Spokane Community College and convinced me, a high school ne'er-do-well, that I could become a meteorologist if I was willing to bust my ass. She was right. I'm sure she would feel as good about Tony Evers' victory as I do.

Minnesconsin Tom said...

While I can’t say that Tony Evers reminds me of a particular teacher from my past, I totally agree with you that it was his teacher-like qualities that really struck a chord with people all over the state.

As a candidate, he had the perfect combination of experience that was needed at this point in time: he spent the last eight years holding statewide political office, but the majority of his life was spent as an educator, a non-political career interacting with a wide variety of people in different communities across Wisconsin. He understood these people because he was one of them.

Evers, as a triple-graduate of UW-Madison with a bachelors, a masters, and a PhD, is undoubtedly a very intelligent man and a true intellectual, but he has that folksy, down-to-earth quality that makes you believe he could just as well be a greeter at Wal-Mart.

Everything about him makes it obvious that Evers did not win the election because of who he wasn’t—the “un-Walker” or the “un-Trump” who people would blindly vote for if he simply had a pulse—he won because of who he WAS.

I am looking forward to the next four years (at least) of Governor Evers.