Good teachers are hard to come by. At least that has been my experience , especially in primary, elementary , and secondary school. As a matter of fact , I do not remember any primary school teachers.

We were a lucky family in that our social worker father was transferred to Marystown , Newfoundland . We were Protestants and now we were off to a Catholic community. This was quite a thing in that day. But we were lucky!

There was a convent school operated by the Sisters of Mercy .  And that means we received a disciplined , academic oriented , teaching and learning experience. Throw in the music and concerts not to mention the prayers in the classroom as well the special religious events at the nearby Church , and you can say we had a full educational experience for the five years we lived there. Sister Beatrice, Eileen and Michael and the dimutitive lay teacher Miss Fleming come to mind.

High school was at Lewisporte High. Lewisporte in the late fifties and early sixties was a busy north east coast terminus for the railway and the costal boat service to northern Newfoundland and Labrador. I had one ‘giant ‘ of a teacher in Grade Eleven in Lewisporte . I remember some  of his classes to this day. Brose Paddock, now deceased, was his name . He went on to become Principal of the school and even later to become Dean of the Faculty of Education at Memorial University. He and my father were major influences on the direction of my early life. I had occasion to seek Mr. Paddock ‘s ( could never call him anything but Mister) advice on a number of times  in my public life.

In University , I was I introduced to poetry by a Dr. West , who I think was an American and spent only one year at the University . Dr. Pitt opened my eyes to Shakespeare , Wordsworth ,   Blake, Shelley, Colderidge , Keates and Byron. I read them to this day. Dr. David Freeman saw to it that other poets like Donne, Herbert, Johnson and Milton were also a part of my literature learning. In history I remember Dr. Bruce whose lectures on Greek and Roman history were exceptional . And Dr. Swartz created my interest in Medieval history, the Renaissance and Reformation and that Corciscan, Napoleon.

There were many others but not memorable . These I mentioned were memorable because they liked what they were doing and had a passion for teaching and their subject.

Lucky me.


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