The Government Class Experience

The Government Class Experience
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Jason Ippolito @

I was fortunate to attended schools that were sought out by the very best teachers. Because of this, my desire to learn was enhanced by their creativity. My ninth grade Social Studies teacher was one of those who had a natural aptitude for inspiring a learning atmosphere.

Miss Strong was not only new to the junior high school I attended. She was also new as a teacher anywhere. You may think that this means that she was going to have some problems with keeping the students under control. In later years, I wondered if that was why she was given the classroom closest to the school office. Having the principal just across the hall might have had some bearing on how her students would behave.

Although having the principal a few steps away probably gave her some degree of comfort, I’ve returned to my original supposition as to why her students stayed engaged in her classes. She was young, impeccably dressed in the latest fashion, and chose hairstyles that were becoming to her natural face shape. The boys fell in love with her, wanting to please her in any way possible. The girls looked up to her as a knowledgeable big sister. No, there weren’t any behavior problems in any of her classes.

In order to keep students engaged in the subject being taught a teacher can’t just rely on the first impression he or she makes. A teacher must be creative in how he or she presents the material. Miss Strong had ideas that had probable not been used in many years. (I would say that the ideas had never been used before but I think both of us are aware that approximately 95% of so-called new ideas are old one reworked to be compatible with present day life.)

The fall of my ninth year of school coincided with the presidential election here in the United States. The two major candidates were Richard M. Nixon representing the Republican Party, and Hubert H. Humphrey on the side of the Democrat Party. Of course, Miss Strong was delight with this seeing that the curriculum for ninth grade Social Studies was centered on the subject of government.

Miss Strong set up her lesson plans for the entire first semester with a mock election right there in the classroom. We went through the activities of the campaigns. We had our own debates going with different students playing the part of these two candidates. We studied the issues of the election for that year and used them in those debates we held. We actually had voting in our classroom the same day as the US did that year.

It takes a special person to keep a young teenager enthusiastic about learning. I found learning about my country’s government and foundation easy that year. In addition, Miss Strong’s strategies in her mode of teaching helped me remember more of the details that became invaluable in high school.

6 thoughts on “The Government Class Experience

  1. Great teachers are like gold dust. They give us the ability to continue with the love learning, all our lives, not just in the classroom. They leave their legacy and Miss Strong certainly left hers with you! Great post!


  2. My favorite teacher in HS, Mr. Buntin, was a very strong, but understanding person. He would engage the timid students much more readily, than those who were more extrovert. This change in what would be considered the norm, instilled a desire among the entire class, in a collective manner, to aspire for greatness, instead of mediocrity. Those timid students? You could not shut them down. What a great teacher he was. Blessings


    1. Glynis Jolly

      Hi Johnny

      It sounds like Mr. Buntin had that natural talent to be a teacher, more so than many of them have. The ability to draw out the ones who hesitate is a great gift to have.

      Thank you for taking time to stopping by. As a musician, I’m sure your schedule gets full in a hurry sometimes.


      1. Thank you for responding. I’m currently involved in two film projects, and you guessed it, the music aspect. Have you ever taught? I don’t have the patience. BTW, what became of Miss Strong? Blessings.


        1. Glynis Jolly

          I was surprised that you wrote back. You’re the 1st one to do it in the comment section of my blog.

          I did give a few lessons to a guy over 30 years ago. I don’t know what he was expecting but obviously I wasn’t delivering it. I don’t think I’m qualified to teach anyone past the beginning level. In fact, because of not being able to play the flute any more due to disability, I’m not sure if I’d even try that.

          As for Miss Strong – I do know that she was engaged by the end of that school year. A few of the boys went back to visit her, but the girls never did, including me. I would guess that she went on teaching seeing that her 1st year at it was such a success. At this point she’s about ready to hit the age of 70 if she isn’t there already.


          1. Thank you. I spoke to Mr. Buntin in 1998. At that time he was residing in his home town of Boston. He was in the beginning stages of Dementia. Had no idea who I was, until I mentioned my nick name, Speedy. I was a sprinter in HS, and he knew me by that name. I guess I was a very fast runner. If he is still alive, he must be pushing 90. Blessings.


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