The joy of summer is coming to an end, and soon the kids of Manteca will be back in school. Which, in a way, is new found joy for many friends of mine that are parents. The dog days of having to occupy their children with summertime activities will be replaced with the early morning “off to school heave-ho.” It will now be the chore of our many Manteca teachers to whip these kids back into shape – shake the vacation cobwebs off – and get back to a little thing called “learning”.
By now most kids know who will be their teachers during the upcoming year. In the case of students like myself, (“lazy combative unruly jabber-jawed geniuses”), this is a make or break issue. It's the difference between spending a year being challenged by a teacher – one that pushes you to be the best you can be – or one that eventually throws their hands in the air and sends you to the office once a week.
I recall the first day of my sophomore year at Manteca High. Second period English was being taught by Mr. Don Mantooth, who was also my football coach at the time. Class started with roll and as he got to my name, I was asked to step outside – he asked more than once, as I may or may not have been talking. “Listen Teicheira, if you want to goof around and talk in my class – prove to me that the work is too easy for you – and I'll let you talk all you want.” Challenge accepted. Two periods later, I was sitting through roll call in Mr. Jim Stoker's Spanish class. Shortly after roll was finished, he summoned me to his desk, and handed me a slip to the office. “What's this for?” I asked. Without hesitation he responded “I've heard all about you, and won't be wasting my class time with you this year – or any year”. What just happened?! Believe me, that walk to the office was a slow one. The lecture I received from Mr. Clemenson that day – one of hundreds I'd receive during my MHS tenure – was truly memorable.”
“Five minutes! Five minutes! You couldn't last five minutes?!”
Once he realized it was my reputation, and not my actual mouth that had done me in, he convinced Mr. Stoker to ride it out.
I managed to get straight A's during the year in Mr. Mantooth's class. He kept me engaged and challenged – even talked me into writing an extra credit paper about living on a dairy — and over in Stoker's Spanish class: Straight C- all year. We butted heads all year. He even managed to issue me a Saturday School because I blew my nose too loudly in class.
The Moral: Teachers and students need to learn to pick and choose their classroom battles. Otherwise it'll be a long year for the both of them.
Looking back, I have a very short list of teachers that I ever really enjoyed, and realize this is more a product of me being a complete monster in the classroom. I asked some Manteca to a T readers to name their all time favorite Manteca teacher and the response was overwhelming.
It was cool to see people from different generations respond with the same answer. Teachers like Joe Handy, Jan Kizlin, Darrell Hardcastle, Mick Founts, and Greg Leland were named repeatedly. (All coaches may I add). It just shows how important that teacher/student connection is. So here is to another year of school – Teachers and Students open your books to page one:
ERIN STEELE — Mrs. Fatzer from Golden West. I had the privilege to teach with her daughter Krista Fatzer Owen for the last 10 years. She is the reason I am a teacher in MUSD now. She taught me to work through what life threw at me. That I have an inner strength that no one can take away from me.
WENDY BAL HUNT — Mrs. Pecchonino, 2nd grade at Shasta School, 1975-1976.
LISA MARIE PICARELLO — Mrs. Moore New Haven elementary, 3rd grade so probably 1989! She was a teacher there for years and she was the first teacher who taught me about poetry. She really influenced me to write poetry and even hung some of it on the classroom walls! I kept on contact with her thru high school as well, but then lost touch. I thought she was soooo pretty too!! Not sure where she is now or even if still at New Haven?! Possibly!
LARRY HARRIS —Coach Joe Jacobs 1964-1968
LIZ SILVEIRA — Mr. Eckerle, Sierra HighAnatomy & Physiology 98-99. He was a great volleyball coach as well.
JENNEANE ROCHA — My favorite would definitely be Sara Brophy Long. I actually had her 2 years in a row at Shasta, 1991 and 1992. She taught my 5th then 6th grade classes. Educationally she taught me how to enjoy writing. She taught meditation and calming yourself. Then in the 6th grade my father passed away. She read stories to the class and talked to them about how to react when I came back. She had them write letters to me, and even took students to the funeral who wanted to go. I am forever grateful for my education but more importantly for the kindness she taught me and all the kids in my class. I would be a different person today without that love.
DAPHNE BRIGGS — Mr. Dillis - East Union, 1988 , History
DENNIS ROCHA — Mrs Cook 1953 at Yosemite Elementary. She left an impression with me from all those years ago in the second grade. She saved me from the sixth grade boys many times, but that is another story. I think she even taught Dennis Weaver who became a movie screen and TV star, remember gun smoke "Chester" the original sidekick.
NANCY SOUZA GRESS — Mr. Steve Souza is a legend! Shasta, McParland, Neil Hafley, Manteca Day School to name a few. Not that I'm prejudiced or anything...lol
JASON MOLLER — Mr. Cliffton at Shasta School in 80s also Mrs. Smith and Dadasovich. Kaj Busch is a winner at Soerra High
SABRINA LENAE COX — Miss Wigglesworth, Sequoia School, kindergarten. Circa 1982..... I was at UC Davis Medical Center a lot that year and she came to visit me at the hospital and even helped me with my school work. I had an ornament she made me when I was out sick. What an amazing woman!
SHARON ZIMMERMAN-HERRERA — Jim Thomas, my home room teacher, Lincoln Elementary School, 7th grade, 61-62.
JUDY PEOPLES HASKINS - Mr. Marion Elliott. 1968/69. Algebra 8th grade Lathrop Grammar School
SHAUN GOLDEN — I’m surprised I'm the first to say it, but Mr. Hoskins. Sequoia elementary Science. '90 &'91. More than a teacher, he took the time to show a troubled kid with a rough home life a lot of love.
MICHELLE VIERRA LUIS — Mr. Zugnoni East Union
CATHY TEICHEIRA MORELLi — Grandma Mabel Teicheira's favorite teacher in 1936 was her Spanish teacher Mr. Covey at Manteca high and grammar school was the newly married Mrs. Vierra. She did not like her teacher in first grade, and doesn't want to mention her name that tied a towel around her mouth for talking to a boy named Chester trying to get back her eraser that he took from her!!
MELISSA BROCCHINI STATES - My Ripon High Ag teacher Chuck Carley shares the top of a long list of favorites. I loved high school (don't judge me!)
CAROL SHUPE HOWELL — My all time favorite teacher was my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Huddle at Yosemite School 1968 - 69. She was so sweet and made everyone feel important in her class. Although I didn't like biology I would still have to say Mr. Matthews at Manteca High my sophomore year 1975-76 was my favorite teacher in high school. He was so friendly and always had the best stories and really made you want to learn biology, he made his class interesting.
MARCO A GALEAZZI — Dino Cunial 69-71, Great coach, teacher, mentor and person. I did many push-ups for this man, no matter where I was.
CAROLINE SILVA SILVEIRA WOLFE — Dr. Irving Shaw Manteca High business classes 1965 & 1966 & 1967.
BRONWYN STEVES — Mr. Harold Martin, Manteca High, Geometry, Advanced Algebra. 1978-80. He was an incredible teacher - loved and respected by his students. He set very high standards, but had a way of instructing that gave all of us access to sometimes difficult material. He knew all of our names, our siblings’ names, in what types of extra-curricular activities we were involved, he noticed if we got a haircut, etc. He truly cared about his students.
There were many, many more – and you are all appreciated.
“It's not Where ya do, It's What ya do”