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To the editor

Something for National Teacher Day

Today is National Teacher Day. Having devoted some twenty years to teaching history and prepping, making out tests, and grading them on my own time so as to always return them the very next day, while earning a subsistence salary, a one-day celebration hardly seems sufficient. Alex Trebek and Jeopardy do much better with a two-week Teacher Tournament. I also spent an additional twenty years teaching just about everything in adult education.

Now, I’m enjoying a well-earned retirement and would like to pay tribute to a few of my teachers who greatly influenced my teaching methods, which consequently evolved over the years. I had a great many fine teachers throughout my twelve years attending the public schools of El Dorado, Ark. However, I don’t recall any of them influencing my own methods. The following were teachers/professors whom I studied under at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and modified some of their methods as my own and adapted them for high school students.

Professor McNeill taught The French Revolution and Napoleonic Era, and he always included maps on each of his tests. On my tests, I included a map section of five to ten sites that my students had to locate on a map that I provided.

Professor Hudson taught The Civil War and Recent America. Whether it was the War of the Rebellion or the two World Wars, he didn’t just mention that some side won this battle or lost that one, he used maps to explain the strategies, the tactics, the personalities involved, and the consequences of each conflict.

Professor Reeser taught Ancient Egypt and Greece, Ancient Roman Republic and Empire, and Historiography. One of his most impressive traits was that he did not come in to class, walk up to the lectern, open his folder of notes and begin reading. He never used notes.

This is only an extremely truncated version of my real tribute to these fine teachers. It’s limited to the current 350-words that the News-Times restricts its local writers. The full-length version can be found at and I would welcome your comments.

David Offutt

El Dorado

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