This was the year of Doris Gates, the daughter of a mother with a degree in classical studies, the librarian who wrote two books on Greek mythology in preparation for a trip to Greece. In fact, Gates wrote six books based on her knowledge and affection for the myths. They were delightful retellings -- probably, my favorite mythology to teach. I don’t believe I taught all six of them to the seventh graders that year. However, I recall with a bit of embarrassment a delegation of young ladies who told me that the back cover of Two Queens ofHeaven which contained Athene(a)’s bared breast had caused some talk among some of the males. So, the next day, I addressed the nudity “issue.”
In my mind, this was my best year teaching Greek mythology. The kids loved it -- even though they grumbled all the time about my devious, demonic tests. I was having so much fun only a silver bullet could stop me. Happily, years later one current Graland parent informed me that her affection for the stories had infected her daughter who easily recited details of stories I had forgotten. Along the way, I sang the gospel according to John E. Warriner and Henry Christ-- nothing like grammar rules, drills, quizzes, and tests to highlight another year of seventh grade English.
Despite comments I heard many years later. “Mr. Hickey, you were one of the scariest teachers I ever had, but I loved your class,” I left Denver for my East Coast summer thinking happy thoughts about my students. Now, if I could just convince Tim Johnson about not going on another seventh-grade winter trip.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.