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Geil 1 Matt Geil Professor Blair English 1103-025 17 September 2013 My Best Teacher Go forth, do great and wonderful

things. This is how my high school history teacher would end every class, without fail. Dr. Raymond Gamble graduated from West Point and spent several years in the military, specifically the Persian Gulf. His experiences help his credibility as a teacher and makes his classes that much more interesting. He is one of the nicest, most caring men I know, and his passion is teaching history. I had him for Early and Modern U.S. History, World War II and Cold War history. Dr. Gamble had a very effective way of teaching, but also cared genuinely about each and every student, which made him the best teacher I have ever had. Dr. Gamble knew his information inside and out, and presented it in a very effective way. I asked him one time how long it took him to prepare each lesson, and he said about three hours per lecture. He figured per course, he spent about 300 hours preparing his information, and it was very evident when he taught. His facts were always spot on, and he was always interesting to listen to. When it came to presenting the material, he had a very systematic, routine way of going about it. He had a slide projector in the front of the room with condensed notes for us to follow along and write down, which he would go over for that class. It was very important to not only write what was on the slide, but names of people and specific events because they would come up on the test. Dr. Gamble also had the policy of allowing us to use our notes on the test. Because of this, his tests were more difficult, but if you took good notes the test was not bad. Dr. Gamble has been teaching at my high school for about 15 years now, and his notes are

Geil 2 almost exactly the same as when he first started (with some updates when necessary). He even had his jokes written down in his notes that he would say each year. This brought incredible consistency to his lectures, which helped us get the information easier. Dr. Gambles consistency, knowledge and teaching style shows how he was a great teacher. One of my favorite parts of class, along with most students, were movie days. Dr. Gamble was big into films, specifically historical or military films, and made a point to work them into the curriculum. We watched Saving Private Ryan in WWII history. At the end of each film, we were required to write a review of the film, which were usually 3-5 pages long. I learned a lot from these because Im a visual learner, and seeing battles in action helps me understand strategies and more of how it actually was when the battle was going on. Also, they had great entertainment value. Another film we watched in Modern U.S. History was Cinderella Man. The main character was a well known boxer, but ran into misfortune. He broke his strong hand in a fight, while the Great Depression was at its worst. Since there was little money to be spent as is, there was no money to pay him. He had to work in a boatyard, where he strengthened his weak hand. Eventually, he got back in the ring and climbed back to the top, but not before going through a lot of hardship with money and family. This was an excellent film to put into perspective the kind of devastation in the Great Depression. Dr. Gamble chose very entertaining but informational films to show in class, which backed up his teaching and made the class a lot more fun. When it came to assignments, Dr. Gamble didnt accept petty excuses. I remember one kid came in without an essay that was due that day. I dont remember his exact words, but essentially his excuse was life got in the way. In other words, he didnt feel like doing the work or forgot. Dr. Gamble responded firmly, but graciously, essentially saying that wasnt a

Geil 3 good excuse. This wasnt the first time the student had forgotten his assignments, and it was obvious Dr. Gamble didnt want to hear any more excuses. This example shows two very important things about Dr. Gamble: one, he expected the work to be done, and enforced it. But more importantly, his self-control and respect for the students. He was very gracious when he gave his response to the student, but he was firm. Dr. Gamble expected the assignments to be done on time, and as a result of his firmness, they usually were. Dr. Gamble was not just a good teacher, but a fun guy to talk to. I had study hall with him during my junior and senior years, and I remember talking to him for just about the entire class time about sports or whatever else may come up. Being from the north, we were Celtics fans and talked a lot about the game from the night before or trades, even about different things in the league. Dr. Gamble is one of those guys who never stops learning, and loves to learn. He knew so much about such a wide array of topics. He would talk about theatre with the kids in the show, any sport with the guys, and could tell you what was happening throughout the world without breaking a sweat. It was very impressive. The only downside was that he kept talking, often for the entire study hall. This made homework somewhat difficult. Nonetheless, it is good to know your teachers and to have conversations with them, and my relationship with him is much stronger as a result. Besides being a good teacher, and a good guy to talk to, Dr. Gamble is a role model to me. He carries himself with respect, humility, and confidence. I went to a small Christian high school, where all the students and teachers knew each other. Near the end of each year, we would have what was called spiritual emphasis days. We would listen to a speaker for a while, then break up into small groups (by gender, selected by the faculty ahead of time) to discuss what the speaker had said. I was lucky enough to be the student leader in Dr. Gambles group

Geil 4 for both my sophomore and junior years. I learned a lot from him, like being humble, and stepping back to listen before trying to be heard. I left enough of an impression on him during those two years that when he wrote in my yearbook this past year, he made a point to tell me that I did a good job leading the group. Its a small thing to be told, but hearing it from a guy like Dr. Gamble makes it mean so much more. Thats the kind of impression he leaves on anyone-- if he compliments you, it means a lot. I was blessed to have been in contact with him as much as I was, and to have a role model like him. For a good chunk of my life, Ive thought about joining the military or doing ROTC in college. I still may, and didnt this year because the Army had funding cuts for the program and didnt have room for me. While trying to make the decision my senior year on whether I wanted to do ROTC, I went and talked to Dr. Gamble. He is a great listener, and with his experience, had great information for me. We sat down and talked for probably 3 hours one day about benefits and struggles I may face, and whether or not it was a good idea for me. Not many teachers would have that much information about the Army as he did, and even fewer would take that much time out of their busy schedule to just listen and discuss my future. I have huge amounts of respect for Dr. Gamble because of his humility and desire to be involved in students lives. This may not have to do specifically with teaching, but because he was this way, it made me pay attention more in class and respect his teaching more. Dr. Gamble was an excellent teacher, but was not perfect. His lectures were very routine, and he had somewhat of a monotone voice. It was not always easy to listen during class, especially because right before one of my classes with him was lunch. It was difficult at times, but if you put the effort in to listen, it paid off. Despite his monotone voice, Dr. Gamble was the best teacher Ive ever had.

Geil 5 I have been blessed with several great teachers throughout my life, whether it be in school, on the court, or in the job setting, but none compare with Dr. Gamble. His knowledge of the subject, and passion for teaching made learning about history pretty easy. He loved to talked to students about whatever they wanted to talk about, and since he had done his homework on pretty much every topic, he could talk about anything. But most of all, he was an incredible man in terms of integrity. Very few people compare to how he carried himself and treated others, which is the biggest reason why he is the best teacher I have ever had.