My tenth grade English teacher numbers among my favorites. He had a very unique way of looking at the world, a quick wit, and did well to hold our attention. I remember the day, when diagramming a sentence, he ran out of room on the board, so he continued on the wall. The chalk marks where there when I stopped by his room two years later.
We studied Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that year. Every student had to memorize Ceaser’s eulogy.* His standard was strict: once one person sat down, another was to stand up. He was very clear that this is what he expected. I remember I went towards the front of the line, and got through it. After about hearing half the class recite the speech, there was no “next person” standing up. After a few beats, he shrugged, and started on to the next thing. Those who hadn’t recited the lines were, as I understand it, given an F for the assignment.
Today is the Ides of March. I was reminded of this, in part, because this teacher posted about Julius Caesar, in the form of a picture of a performance of the play, on Facebook. Several former students, myself included, posted about the eulogy. He seemed delighted to have an impact twenty years later.
Friends, Romans, Countrymen
Lend me your ears
I have come to bury Caesar,
not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them
The good is oft interred with their bones.
So let it be with Caesar”
I intend to look it up later, and will report. For now, I’m trying to work my way through it on memory. Still, I find it amazing what an impact has been had on me and my peers.
*I want to say it was Marc Anthony, but not 100% sure, and not looking it up, as I want work only off my memory, for the moment.