"Hey, Mary," called Jean from down the corridor, "Wait up a minute." Panting and
shoving, Mary pushed her way through the crowd of students milling hither and yon in
search of their class rooms.
"Say, Mary, you took biology last year didn't you? I'm due at biology lab this
period. Can't you give me some inside dope on it? Is it hard? It sounds interesting. --- oh
yes, my teacher is Mr. Johnson. What sort of a fellow is he?"
"Why," said Mary in the condescending tones befitting a second year student
speaking to a mere first year high school student, "you'll like biology lots. Of course you'll
have to cut up craw-daddies and grasshoppers and fishing worms! -- but you'll get used to
that. You got Johnson? I don't know anything about him; he's just new here this year.
Here's the lab. Let me know what you think of him, will you?"
"Sure," answered Jean as she hurried into the laboratory to see what her new
teacher and new subject were like.
"Will you please answer to the roll." Mr. Johnson spoke in brisk, business-like
tones from behind his desk and the class came to order. At the completion of such usual
routine he rose from his desk and turned to the board.
"Can someone spell the word 'laboratory' for me please -- anyone."
Quickly and decisively he wrote the word upon the board. "And now can you tell
me what the first half of that spells? It spells 'labor' and that is what I expect the
'laboratory' to mean for you. I expect you to work in here this year. Simply to learn to
work would be a big lesson for most of you to learn; but I hope you'll get more than just
that out of this biology class.
"An Indian boy could walk through your park and if asked about what he found,
could tell about the birds he heard; the plants he saw; and the odors he breathed. An
Indian boy would very probably be observant of all those things. But I am afraid that if I
were to question the most of you about what you found in the park, you would probably
say: 'Oh, the grass was greener and the path was muddy.' but you wouldn't see the flowers
on the maple trees or the wrens carrying nesting material in their bills. You could tell
about the honking horn on the automobile that nearly ran over you; but you couldn't tell of
the song of the peeping frog. You, maybe, could tell of the odor of wood smoke; but you
wouldn't know the smell of the damp warm earth or the smell of green things growing.
"I want this class to make you observant. I want you really to notice things when
you walk through the park -- or anywhere else for that matter. But before that can be
possible you must remember that 'laboratory' begins with 'labor' which means work.
"Now, let's see, you have your list of supplies and your assignment for next time?
Good, you may use the remainder of the time for the preparation of tomorrow's lesson."
"Gosh," thought Jean, "I'll bet he's going to be a keen teacher. He sure means
business anyway. Guess I'd better follow his advise and get to work. Gee! just wait 'till
Mary hears about that talk."
English II - 11
April 6, 1934
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