LAW OFFICE MONAST
www.monastlaw.com | 614-334-4649 | 5000 Arlington Centre Blvd. Bldg 2, Suite 2117, Upper Arlington, OH 43220-2913
VISION, DRIVE, AND INSPIRATION
THE TEACHERS WHO PUSHED ME TO BECOME WHO I AM TODAY
It’s funny how, throughout the years, memories of past teachers accumulate, sticking with you no matter what. The back-to-school season has me thinking about a few of those teachers who helped me get to where I am today. Back when I was in elementary school, teachers and administrators were known to paddle kids pretty regularly. The fear of God was put in me on more than one occasion, but it’s the kindness of Mrs. Livermore, my third-grade teacher, that sticks with me most today. While she looked like“Old Lady”Crump from the“Andy Griffith Show,”to my young eyes she seemed like a grandma. On the school day after I had to get eyeglasses, I was deeply shy and embarrassed. I dreaded the“four eyes”comments and the idea that I might be some kind of nerd. When my dad dropped me off, she stepped out of the classroom before I went in.“Why don’t you take Jimmy up the hall to get a drink of water?”she asked my dad. Now, I can’t be sure of this, but I’m convinced that while I was taking a walk, she warned the other kids not to make fun of my new frames. I walked into the classroom, all antsy and anxious, but nobody said a word to tease me. You could hear a pin drop. What a relief! In sixth grade, I had Charles Bunnell, a burly young guy who also butchered cattle. One day, I stumbled in just before 8 a.m., half-asleep, and went to the little sink in the back of the classroom for a drink. I took a long, cool drink with my eyes closed. When I opened them, a bloody, massive beef heart was staring me in the face from the bottom of the sink, two inches away! I howled in terror and backed away. It turned out Mr. Bunnell had brought it in for show and tell to teach us about heart anatomy. I learned more than he intended that day, I think. Much later in life, I had one law professor joke that“reading law is like eating sawdust without butter,”which is true, but a few teachers managed to make it interesting nonetheless. I remember Larry Herman, my criminal law professor, gesticulating wildly as
he outlined the history of case after case. He was a wiry fellow, full of energy and enthusiasm, and he always got nominated as the law school’s professor of the year.
I had another professor, Bill Knepper, who, after our months of preparation for our Trial Advocacy case, cut our
presentations short so we could make it to the Ohio-Michigan game, to which he had tickets. This was on the day of our oral arguments, and we had put dozens of hours into our cases.“I know you’ve prepared hard for this,”he said,“and there’s
nothing worse than the pangs of an undelivered speech. But the kickoff is at noon, and I have tickets.”We were shocked, but I can’t say anybody was too upset. We got that Saturday afternoon off for a rare moment to unwind and cheer for our Buckeyes. Nearly every person who’s spent years and years in school will have hundreds more stories like this, but there’s always one commonality. The best teachers inspire us to see beyond our current station, and they give us the imagination to realize our latent potential. They provide us with a vision of our future. I am certain that, without the guidance of such mentors, my life would be a far cry fromwhat it is today. I’m incredibly grateful for each and every one of them.
- Jim Monast
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