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Love of learning can be a family legacy

Mothers are the first teachers for most children, but those of us who had teachers as mothers have a special legacy to pass on. Attorney Rob Perdue nominated his mother and his son for apples for our teacher tree because these two teachers have made a difference in his on-going education.

Rob wrote: “Margaret Perdue is my mother, and Scott Perdue is my son; both are teachers about whom, I think it is fair to say, started to teach me a great deal since birth … mine initially, and then my son’s…. Dr. Margaret Perdue served several decades with the Pennsylvania State University as a Speech Communications Professor. I attended Penn State for my undergraduate degree before joining the military, and my son Scott will be graduating from Penn State this summer with his degree in secondary education on his way to becoming a high school teacher …. he is already student teaching at my old high school!”

Rob described his mother’s home teaching methods:

“As I would work on homework, or just listen to conversations between my parents or on television, I would often ask what a word meant, or how to spell a word. My mother’s only answer was, ‘Let us go look it up!’ She said it was important for my sister and me to know how to look up words…. This relentless refusal to just give us the answer, she clearly knew, did at least three things: 1) it inevitably caused us to sort through many more words in our dictionary hunt than the single word at hand; 2) our dictionary showed us the word’s etymology which in turn allowed us to understand where the word came from and how it was related to other words; and 3) it listed synonyms and antonyms which gave us the discipline and ability to search for a more precise word to communicate in the future. Similarly, knowing at least a little bit about Greek, or Latin, or romantic language roots made it much easier to trace what other words likely meant based solely on how a word was spelled. To this day, I look up the words I do not know, and I strive to make my children do it too….”

Rob continued: “My son Scott spent this past year in a student teaching program at my old high school, but due to the pandemic which continues to affect so many aspects of people’s live in 2020 and into 2021, I am re-learning vicariously through him what it means to dedicate yourself to try to overcome obstacles and strive to capture and hold the attention of students through virtual mediums. He has a passion and perspective shaped by adversity, but also sustained in part by my Mother who regularly talks with him about how her experiences as a teacher, both good and bad, continue to give her life perspective and meaning — she remember students, classes, books, and workshops that embedded in her mind as the reasons she dedicated so many decades of her life to the teaching profession.”

“Scott [Perdue] often approaches his teaching like a director might approach making a movie – he uses different lenses to try to consider how to best convey his material and message. He is creative and innovative and driven in a way that inspires me to look into my own work for ways to consider how vital it is to consider multiple perspectives when looking for the best way to foster real learning and genuine understanding.

“My mother and son represent the sustained nurturing that we need from our teachers. Just like an apple, every year is a new harvest where they produce new seeds and nurture them to grow,” Rob wrote. “I am eternally grateful to them both for teaching me so much personally, and for dedicating themselves to a profession which so directly improves our local, state, national, and pnternational communities.”

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