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January 28, 2012

Berdoo Faculty Blogs

Please post your favorite faculty stories and salutes. 

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Larry Gable on March 12, 2017 11:08 PM
Miss Joann Woodward -  She challenged her students and pushed them to be the best they could be.  I attribute my writing skills to her.  She taught us how to organize our thoughts and feelings and convey them on paper.
 I received an "A" on every paper I did in college and know that it was a direct result of what she taught us.  One of my three favorite teachers.  
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Diane (Ebel) Moore on March 18, 2017 10:09 PM
Miss Woodward was definitely an awesome teacher and an excellent role model. I loved her class as did all my fellow classmates. I was inspired to become an English teacher, and took 90 units of English in college before realizing I could never be Miss Woodward. She should know how much she meant to us.
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Carol Gaston Kerr on June 19, 2017 3:55 PM
I also endorse Joanne Woodward as a teacher who shaped my life.  Funny, demanding, lively and insisting you be curious and work hard.   Between Ms. Woodward and Ms. Atkinson I went to college knowing how to write well and in fact taught high school English myself for 8 years--but was never as good as they were. 
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Sue Olson on July 26, 2017 12:27 AM
I have often wanted the chance to say thank you to Joanne Woodward, possibly the best teacher I enjoyed for 3 years in the long diverse parade of teachers who affected me on through the college years.  After passing under the hallowed portal of her classroom and Dante's caution to "Abandon all hope ye who enter here," I recall her first speech to us juvenile 10th graders:  "Your days of being little sponges are over.  In my class you will think for yourselves and examine and question great literature.  I will prepare you to write college papers.......I will accept nothing less than your best."  I even recollect most of her definition of literature--that compendium of time transcending thought set down in written symbols.....And when I slipped below those tall standards and received a "C" with a big red downward arrow, I still recall her commentary, "Neat abortion of reason.  Try again."     I have often told these stories when expressing what it means to be a good teacher.  So I gleefully thank you, Joanne.  I was a writer when I got to you; I developed into a better writer and remained a critical thinker thanks to you.  I hope your life has been worthy of you and for you.   
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Carol Gaston Kerr on September 19, 2017 7:42 PM
Sue--what a great tribute!  And I love remembering that definition.  She was amazing!
 
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Michael Tappan on August 14, 2017 12:32 AM
To Miss Woodward,

Well Joanne Woodward, it’s been many years since I sat in your class in your 1967 English literature class. And there is still a place in my memory for you.

I anguished over your high expectations. And I learned from them. I was not the only one. I remember someone posted a small sign above your classroom door that read (as did the sign to the entrance of Dante’s hell), “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”

High schoolers are wags and prone to misinterpretation. It was not hope that had to be abandoned in your classroom. But instead what needed to be jettisoned was the idea that we could get away with thinking small. There was always some sense of knowing that to enter through your class door would present challenges that would move us out of our narrow worlds to grander human experiences.

I remember that in one semester you could always tell a “Woodward student.” They were the ones carrying around a paperback copy of Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha with their math texts. I didn’t read, really read Hesse, or any novel for that matter, until my twenties.  I was slow to deeply dive into the world you presented to us. I didn’t get my English degree until my mid-30s.

But you planted the seeds in me to explore what you taught. Through you, I had my first realization of the power of human story. In your presence, education wasn’t about the memorization of dates, or the ends-and-outs of diagraming a sentence. In your class, there were the great themes of life; joy, fear and love… the things that link us to our humanity, bind us to each other, and help us realize that we’re not alone.

From that place it’s a heck of a lot easier to explore just who we are. And I thank you for that.

Your teaching came as much by example as by words. I saw you then as I see you know as a strong woman who earned her student’s allegiance by her wit and intelligence and the strengths of her understandings.

So, with gratitude, and from my heart to yours… Miss Woodward, I want to thank you.

Mike Tappan
 
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Kim (McLaughlin) Wible on September 6, 2017 11:49 AM
There are few people who can claim to have changed as many lives as Miss Woodward has.  She certainly changed mine.  I made it through college and graduate school on the strength of what she did for her students.  First she taught us to think, and then she taught us to translate those skills into an ability to write well.  Like so many others, I have relied on those skills throughout my life.  

As kids, while we complained about the work we were expected to do, I don’t think many of us gave a thought to how much effort it took Miss Woodward to prepare our lessons, and then cover our papers in red ink.  She was determined to get us ready for the world beyond high school, and as an adult I have been endlessly grateful for the amount of dedication she must have put into quietly working much harder than we ever did.  Thank you, Miss Woodward!
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Carol Gaston Kerr on September 19, 2017 7:44 PM
SO true.  You've said it all.  I wish/hope she could know what we all think now in retrospect.  And I can't wait to see you!  Carol
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David Sloan on October 11, 2017 8:29 PM
Ms. Woodward--The very name still conjures in my soul a little fear, a great deal of awe and . . .all these decades later, the utmost gratitude.  If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery--well, Joann (I always wanted to call you that in class, but the sheer terror of the possible consequences muted me), I've chosen to be a high school English teacher for the past forty-odd (and I do mean ODD) years.  You were my template, my 'enry 'iggins, and my pedagogical Platonic ideal.  If you actually attend the 50th, I would love nothing more than to fulfill three lifelong ambitions: to thank you in person for kindling my life's work, to give you a kiss on the cheek, and to call you Joann. 
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