Friday, December 19, 2008

A Legend in My Own Time

by Shirley Bahlmann
I didn't know I was a legend until last Tuesday when I sat in front of Snow College Professor Bruce Peterson at my son's school Christmas program. Between songs, Peterson leaned forward and tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up from my book (which I read between songs) to see him smiling down at me. "Do you know what I remember about you?" he asked.
Now that was a loaded question if I ever heard one! So many possibilities ran through my brain that I was dizzy when I answered, "No. What?" I wondered if there were any other seats I could move to in the jam-packed gymnasium once he revealed some terrible deed of my past.
"You were reading a paperback book in a college class. When the teacher called on you to answer a question, you looked up, answered it, and went right back to reading."
"Oh," I said, not specifically remembering the incident.
"The teacher stood there with his mouth open," Peterson laughed. "I was amazed. The whole class was. I didn't even know the answer, and I'd been listening. So now, every year I tell my students about you, and say that they can do whatever they want as long as they're getting the information. If they can answer the questions, then they can read or draw or listen to music or whatever. But if they can't, then they have to do it my way."
"You tell all your classes about me?" I asked, my eyebrows disappearing into my hairline.
"Yeah. I just thought that was so great when you did that. You taught me that everyone learns differently."
"Cool," I said. "Thanks for telling me." Then I turned around, my eyes falling on the sweet adventure of the written word.
It's really kind of exciting that you never know when you'll do something that impacts someone else. I just happened to find out because I was just being my weird self, reading books in my spare time everywhere I go.
Sometimes I'll sing a bit of song in the grocery store. Sometimes I do high kicks when I'm walking down the street. I don't know why. But if you ever see an urban setting and people on the street break out into a series of random high kicks, then you'll know that Shirley has achieved legend status once again.


Andy said...

For some reason, it reminds me of an experience I had my first semester teaching. I was giving vital assignment info and some kid was pushing buttons on his phone. I told him, in less than pleasant tones, to put the thing away. He responded that he was writing down the due dates in his phone's calendar. I apologized to him later, but I wish I had done so there in front of the class.
It's always dangerous to assume you know what your students are doing. You really never do know.

Rachelle said...

You are hilarious! Love it! I'm not quite that talented, but I do read every chance I get. :)

Jewel's Gems said...

Shirley, I can definitely see you doing that. Your posts always make me smile:o)

Shirley Bahlmann said...

This is so great Shirley. I am so proud of you for all you are accomplishing. It is fun to read these addies. You are so fun. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Darcy Harefield

Shirley Bahlmann said...

Hi Shirley About 5 minutes before I received your email I updated my front page and put your photo on it. Keep up the good work you are a great author !

Ron Johnston
Morgan, Utah

Shirley Bahlmann said...

Yay Shirley!

I love reading your blogs. I can't wait to read your Crazy Louise book. It sounds awesome!!

Linda Pratt

Anne Bradshaw. said...

Love you and your tales, Whirly Shirley :-) May 2009 be your best year yet.

And don't forget to hop on over to my blog for some fabulous contests, starting yesterday!

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