A college diploma does not a man make.

SFA choir at Madison Square Garden 1959

I suppose you could call me a college dropout with a degree. I loved school. I missed only one-half day in all twelve years. My class, 1949, was the first one to go twelve years in Mount Pleasant Public Schools. I actually breezed through classes all the way to a Masters Degree. My mind was like a sponge. I have always been thrilled to learn. I never spent midnight oil studying. I never cheated on a quiz, even though as a Senior in high school, our class in American History was offered the option. I refused to look for the planned signals from two students in the first row. I did my test without doing so and I passed easily. I refused to go along with cheating in Physics while at Sam Houston even though I did participate in setting the prof’s pocket watch twenty-minutes ahead at first break in summer school. It was a two-hour class music composition class twice a week and it was very dull. He got even with a 250 question True/False final after making a big show of placing his pocket watch securing in his pocket and announcing that we were to not complete our exam until a full two-and-a-half hours had elapsed. He will always be among my favorites. I entered college on a full music scholarship, playing in the college band. I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about playing a trumpet, but I was in for a rude awakening when in my Freshman Music Theory class I discovered that I couldn’t ‘read’ music! I also learned that I knew nothing about Classical Music. I loved big bands and popular tunes of the day and the only broadcast of music in my home was “The Grand Ole Opry” and “Louisiana Hayride”. Dr. George Conrey saw to it that I knew both, or else. He and Dr. Paul Hensarling, Charles Lindsay, Dr. Earl Jones,  and Dr. Rice (I do not recall his first name). Upon graduation from Sam Houston State Teachers College in Huntsville with a BMu degree, I began teaching music in Cedar Bayou Schools (soon to be consolidated with Baytown Goose Creek School District).From there we moved to Pampa, Texas where Marilyn and I were assigned Junior High. She co-taught girl’s physical education and I taught music. It was then that I realized I was only parroting what I had seen while in the College choir and there was more to teaching than anything taught there. College Psychology class doesn’t teach how to deal with simple disrespect from students. It never says, “Be careful what you threaten with.” As sure as the sun shines, you will be forced to back it up with action. I know that for a fact. No place did any education class give pointers in dealing with the arbitrary administrator who simply doesn’t like you as a person. No mention of what to do when you have an administrator who is jealous of your relationship with faculty and students. No prof ever told me that my civil rights could be in jeopardy with board rulings. Parenting and Teaching both lack a how-to Textbook. Curriculum in Public Institutions is missing one basic required coarse. “Bible Study”! And that’s what I get from MY box of chocolates.   AMEN

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