Teacher Appreciation Week: The Valedictorian

Mary
filed under:
Image credit: 

And finally, our top choice, partially because we have a deep and abiding affection for Weber State and partially because we absolutely adore the idea of anatomy-centric Christmas carols:

My best teacher ever was Dr. Kent Van De Graaff. He taught human anatomy at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. He loved to teach, and he had such a passion for anatomy that he made you love it too.

Dr. Van De Graaff made a subject anatomy fun. For example, he made up a 4-5 page list of anatomy Christmas songs (my personal favorite being "Gary the Gastrocnemius" to be sung to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer") and led the class in singing them. When we were studying tissues, he played a game in class similar to 20 Questions called I Am a Tissue. He rewarded anyone who asked him a good question with a Damitol - a jelly bean to eat when life is no good. He also tried to make whatever we learning in class applicable to our lives right then. When we studied the brain, he made a list of brain facts and ways to keep your brain healthy.

I think Dr. Van De Graaff's greatest attribute was his desire for students to succeed. He was always willing to help any student with a problem. I was in an English class after I had him, and one of my classmates told us that he was the reason she was an English major. She went to see him one day after class because she was struggling, and because of their conversation she changed her major to something she truly enjoyed. He was an amazing person, and it was a tragedy when he died last year.

- Janel Christensen

Janel, send us your contact info (and any recordings you may have of "Gary the Gastrocnemius"), and we'll get your book on its way.

More from mental_floss...

October 27, 2006 - 8:55am
webby
submit to reddit