Wilder's Whole World: Again, reflecting on Mrs. Banzer
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my time with Mrs. Myrna Banzer at Piner Middle School in the 1970s.
It has come to my attention that others had distinctly different experiences with Mrs. Banzer, both at the high school and Piner. I am not going to focus on what she did or didn’t do, but I do want to discuss my handling of it in my column.
First, I am sorry for any negative experiences anyone had in school or elsewhere. Such instances are demeaning and no one should be treated other than with compassion. Myrna Banzer may have come by her reputation honestly. Of course, then and all these years since I had no idea about her past or relations with students. I took it from the year I knew Mrs. Banzer; and that was too small a sample size. I should have written better to reflect this idea.
Also, in retrospect, perhaps, the biggest aspect of all of this is my memory! I may only be remembering the ‘fun’ and ‘happy’ times with Mrs. Banzer. There may have been negative instances like others described, but I could be glossing over them after some 50 years. I don’t know; I just know it’s possible with my memory…
I realize I should have done better in describing Mrs. Banzer to readers. My implying that only students who didn’t do well in academics would have a sour impression of her was simply wrong. I should have thought that through in more depth. Sure, some students might have a negative view of her if they felt she ‘gave’ them a lower grade when they tried their hardest, but I see that it was wrong to make it a complete generalization about ALL students. (This can be true of any student/teacher situation.) I was being lazy in my writing; and making her into something she wasn’t. Her reputation may not be as simple as some student being mad about a grade. I simply don’t know all the facts; and my writing should have reflected that reality.
Of course, I have heard of these types of teachers (reputation); and literature, stories and tales come from every era and time in American history; and probably world history. I may have even had some of these teachers without knowing it, but they didn’t treat me negatively. So, I didn’t think anymore of it in my own experience. I just read or heard about such teachers; and went on my merry way.
Again, I am sorry for the experiences others had; they didn’t deserve that type of treatment from any teacher or anyone else. I am sorry for belittling it in my writing about Mrs. Banzer. I will endeavor to write more carefully when I am generalizing about subjects I don’t fully comprehend. I don’t ever want to make light of anyone’s experience, even if by accident.
In contemplating one’s past, it is easy to focus on what is powerful to you at any given point. If one wants to dwell on specific experiences, they become larger than life, so as to give meaning to the course of Life. I let that happen without thinking about others’ possible experience in the same situations.
My humble apologies; I will strive to be aware of such intricacies when writing about my own life experiences because even if mine are unique: others may be, too…