Time rushes on and a new school year is upon us. It is the time of year that reminds me of my favorite teacher. His name was “Doc” Power and he taught science at Madison County High School. “Doc” was an interesting man. He had a diseased leg and had to use crutches.
“Doc” did not believe that anyone knew everything about any subject. He did not approve of true-or-false tests. Any time he gave a test he would include at least one question that called for us to write an answer. That way, he could always find something we left out for which he could give us a grade of less than 100. “Doc” was a very creative tester. One day he came in and instructed us to make up 10 questions and answer them. Then he graded us on the difficulty of the questions we ask ourselves.
“Doc” made use of his advantages. Once, the school held a Field Day during which we took part in a variety of contests. One of them was a three-legged race. The idea was that two people would strap two of their legs together then try to run that way. “Doc” had one leg and two crutches. That totaled three to him, so he entered the race and came in second.
I went to see him at the hospital during his death watch. On his last day on earth, “Doc” Power spent the day reading a science magazine!
“Doc” taught us science. He also taught us how to study, how to find answers to our questions and how to determine the right questions to ask. My love of science, my love of learning is all due to his teaching. He was without a doubt my best teacher.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His website can be accessed at http://www.frankgillispie.com/gillispieonline.
08/25/14 at 09:57 AM
Means a lot to hear that from you Mr. Gillispie! I am his grandson Fred Power and I was only 5 when he passed away(24 now) but I got to spend two summers with him when I was little and I could tell even then he was a very one of a kind man and smarter than most anyone would think.
I had Doc for three years when we were in HS - Biology, Chemistry and Physics. He was a character. He wanted you to not only know the subject, but understand the concepts of what was happening and why. He had some interesting testing methods as well. Might have two questions. Such as 'discuss the life cycle of the beef tapeworm' or perhaps, 'discuss the digestive tract of the (earth worm, crayfish, frog etc). Usually I was loaded with information and could usually make fifty cents worth look like five dollars. When you got through with one of his tests, either you knew you nailed it or fell on your butt.
Had Doc for study hall one year. He and Pat Seagraves would argue the merits of the Ford 8N style tractor with a wide front and the John Deere tricycle style. Pat nailed Doc so bad once that Doc couldn't say anything. It had gone on for a few days with one taking a point and then the other. It started as usual that day and Pat said. "well I'm gonna give it to you, Ford makes a pretty good tractor". Doc begins to smile knowing he had Seagraves on the run. Then Pat continued, "the Ford is fine if you want to run around under the house looking for hen nests, but if you want to do any real farming, you got to get a John Deere". Doc's mouth was working, but no sound was coming out. Seagraves had shut him down. Most of the class that had been listening to this go could only laugh. Doc knew there would be other 'arguments'.