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Wiser’s Wramblings-A Teacher For, And of, All Ages

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By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels

While thinking about my Thursday Wrambling’s yesterday I didn’t really have a main focus as I often do, so was contemplating multiple Wramblings, also as I often do. I had a couple of folks I was going to thank in keeping with a current feature of mine, but then was saddened to read of the passing of Bev Gibbs, well known to most in the area. As do for most, my thoughts immediately went to her surviving husband Tim and the focus of today’s writings became crystal clear to me. My sub-title pretty much says it all.

I first became acquainted with the name “Gibbsy” when my children would often refer to Mr. Gibbs, most likely or hopefully, not in his presence, but always affectionately. Tim taught Math to all my children at Scio Central School (SCS) and they always spoke very fondly of him both as a teacher, and for his easy-going friendly attitude toward students.

After I had started teaching at Alfred State College (ASC) I was appointed as the student adviser to several of the Engineering Technology students. Overhearing a student conversation amongst my advisees one day they were talking about a math teacher they really liked. “Who is your math teacher?” I asked. “Mr. Gibbs,” they replied. Puzzled, knowing he was the Math teacher at SCS I investigated and found out that Tim had been hired as a part time Adjunct Professor to teach some sections of mathematics. Shortly thereafter, the Industrial Training programs for area industries that I was coordinating needed a math teacher. Tim was another of the area Math teachers that I reached out to, along with a couple others that I have mentioned in previous columns.

One teacher can readily teach the mechanics of mathematics at pretty much any level, but to teach it to so many diverse cohort levels is a rare feat. The way you teach and interact with high school students is different than how a teacher would “teach” at the college level. Teaching at the Industrial Training level to a cross section of students as diverse as you can imagine rises to a whole new level. To start off, many of the “shop guys” in the class may have dropped out of school in the 8th grade, never reaching a math level beyond that. Others may very well have excelled in mathematics throughout high school and were math proficient at a very high level. Two brothers residing in Friendship, NY come to mind as I mention that. The courses were mandatory in the program so the highest and lowest educational and skill levels might be in the same classroom. To balance that, in teaching them, takes a magician with extreme skills.

Some of the training programs for which I “recruited” math teachers required a higher level of mathematics called Trigonometry, wherein calculations were required to determine starting and ending points, and the center point locations of arcs or circles of a curved path of a tool to be programmed. Same students, but completely additional foreign concepts to be taught. Did they all become experts? No, but they all were aware of, and somewhat proficient, at least to a level at which they could ask knowledgeable and intelligent questions of their supervisors or the engineers, and to be able to understand the answers.

He taught all levels, at a level that was consistent with what they needed in their education or job.

Heart warming Story. Several years, actually decades, ago, I bought a used car from a recent acquaintance at the time. My recollection was that it was a pretty good used car, purchased at a reasonable price, and it served us well at a time when pennies were pinched tightly. The other day the seller approached me at an establishment in Wellsville and took my hand shaking it and wouldn’t let go. He proceeded to apologize to me, explaining that when he sold me the vehicle, it had a leaky gas line. I don’t recall that circumstance, but my wife says she does. Anyway, the true gentleman confessed that he wishes that he would have had the gas leak fixed before selling it to me. I told him that I didn’t recall that detail, but it didn’t matter anyway. He finally released my hand, and we went our separate ways. The more I thought about it, the feeling that it was a genuinely gracious and classy thing to do crept over me. If you are reading this, person to remain nameless, Thank You!

I had a doctor’s appointment in Rochester Tuesday and had intentions of filling my gas tank at BJ’s. I was running late after visiting several places and didn’t get a chance to fill up. By the time I got home I was running low but figured I had enough gas to get to The Reservation for their $3.44 priced gas. As I started out I had just a little over 1/8th full tank of gas. As I got closer, and the gas gauge slowly crept down I did the mental calculations of actually how much gas was in the tank. My guess was that I had about 3 gallons of gas left as I coasted (not literally, as you no longer can) down East Hill into Friendship. At a conservative guess as to the milage I was getting, I thought I could make it. When I filled up, the car took on 19.54 gallons of gas. Checking my gas tank capacity, I discovered that it had a 22-gallon tank. I guess I made it with plenty to spare 😏.  

I use .22 Long Rifle “Bird Shot” for pest control from on, and around, my bird feeders. I have been since early in the summer trying to get ammunition for my rifle. Ammunition in that configuration just can’t be found. I continue to check my various sources but for some reason, none is to be had. I sometimes expect it has something to do with the controversy over “lead” being used, or available. I messed up big time when I had the opportunity to purchase more than what I needed. I found a source, but it had a $150 minimum order quantity. At the going rate I would have had to purchase 10 boxes of shells. I have been kicking myself in the butt ever since, for not getting twice that quantity as I have been told by different people (gun store owners) that said they would have bought all I had at a significant profit to me. BTW…Soon after I passed up that deal, that, and all other sources, dried up. What is happening is that “exploiters” have bought everything they can get their hands on and are selling the popular ammunition at astronomical prices. I would not have done that, but I would have looked to make a reasonable profit.

Someone mentioned what was a while ago a young and coming Country Western singer Scotty McCreary’s song “5 More Minutes,” where-in he sings that he wishes he had 5 more minutes with his grandfather. Along those lines, and as I believe I mentioned in a much earlier column, I wish I had at least another couple of hours to ask my mother things for which today I have no answers. I also mentioned at the time that I had a dream about her and that factored into my wish.

If you love to sing, you couldn’t pick any better time of year to do it, than right now. You may want to consider joining a community singing Choir or Barbershop Chorus even if only for a two-and-a-half-month period running from October until after the first of the year. Many of these groups are right now singing out in local Senior Care Centers or Nursing Homes etc. There is only one thing more rewarding than singing in the first place, and that is singing Holiday Songs to a group of Senior Citizens gathered to listen and even to sing along with you. The joy on their faces brings immeasurable warmth into your heart and sometimes even tears to your eyes. It doesn’t get any better than this when you “light up someone’s life” as I believe Debby Boone sang.

I had a note to myself to write about how Google has affected our lives, mostly in a positive way. Google has become, at least for me, the information source as did Webster and Funk and Wagner in the earlier days of this writer. I still keep a copy of a dictionary close at hand on my formal “writing desk,” which too, is seldom used. The potentially debilitating flaw of Google is the veracity of the information contained therein. Verifying sources is now, even more crucial, given the easy access to Google, and the ease with which flawed or blatantly incorrect information is readily found in a Google Search.I decided to include this future use intro as I departed my writing momentarily to validate my recollection of the singing of the song by Debby Boone. In my first draft I had initially credited The Carpenters for the song.

Last week I ended poetically with the words celebrating the December Births. I will end this piece with a prayerful poetic ending in remembrance of those lost to us, recently or other.

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