You taught your students well, and we still appreciate it

Carol and Neal Bandlow, at the Copper Turret in Morrisville, N.Y.

Carol and Neal Bandlow, at the Copper Turret in Morrisville, N.Y.

Neal and Carol Bandlow laughed when I brought up how a car full of us Morrisville Agricultural and Technical College journalism students would pull into their driveway just a couple miles east of the campus and think nothing about knocking on the door and being welcomed in.

That was back in what I consider my glorious first two years of college, from August 1975 to May 1977.

Neal, my teacher back then, and Carol, his very understanding wife, remembered as clearly as I did as a bunch of us sat around a table sharing lunch and way more at the Copper Turret restaurant in the Madison County village that houses the State University of New York college.

Carol reminded me of something I heard back then, too.

She pointed out the window and across Route 20, to the space where the couple first lived when they moved to upstate New York from Michigan so Neal could teach journalism and Carol could teach in the nearby elementary school.

“We moved from there because students were always coming over at all times of the day and night,” Carol said.

Yes, indeed. Teachers and students were all in it together back then.

And we still are, class upon class of journalism students and several generations of journalism teachers.

Hundreds of students gathered for the 25th anniversary of the program in 1992. At least that many came back for a huge bash when Neal Bandlow retired in 1999.

Neal Bandlow suggested this lunch get-together last week to celebrate the birthday of Mike Sorenson, class of ’74, who drove east from his home in Fairport.

We talked about the teacher who had the reputation as being the toughest, Dan Reeder, and the Bandlows talked about a vacation they took together just last summer. We talked to Jerry Leone, aka “Big Jer,” the department head and photography teacher back the, because Carol Bandlow connected him to the party on her cell, from North Carolina.

And there are big plans for more …

If you’d like to read my piece about the longstanding tradition of friendship that embraces SUNY Morrisville journalism teachers and students on waer.org, click the link below.

http://waer.org/post/through-40-years-plus-teachers-students-stay-connected-about-morrisville-journalism

Do you keep in touch with teachers from college? High school or further back? What traits have you admired most about your teachers?

19 thoughts on “You taught your students well, and we still appreciate it

  1. One professor I recently connected with was movie critic Doug Brode. He’s now at Syracuse University. But I took two film courses from him at Onondaga Community College – sound and silent films. He really opened up my eyes to movies. I’m glad you had such a great bond with your professor, Mark. He sounds like a great guy.

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  2. Mark, that’s so cool you have kept in touch with your teachers. I wish I could say the same. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to my home town or to my college town. Of course, with technology, there’s really no excuse. I guess most of my teachers live in my memories. My favorite of all was my 6th grade teacher. Mr. Cook. He used to play John Denver songs on Friday afternoons!

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  3. What a wonderful connection, Mark! Wish I would have kept in touch with some of my teachers….I would give them each a big hug!!! Some truly devoted people to children and their education

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  4. i love this mark. what a wonderful relationship between all of you. i am still friends with one of my college profs, my french teacher, who was italian. my daughter ended up becoming her children’s babysitter and her husband and i later ended up in the same master’s program when we changed our careers to teaching. also still friends with one of my film/writing teachers who’s a playwright now and we meet a few times a year to catch up and i go see his plays.
    on my end, i am still friends with many parents and children who i’ve taught since i’ve become a teacher and i love that.

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    • It’s obvious you approached it in a meaningful way in both directions, Beth. You knew that the teacher-student relationship shouldn’t be confined by school walls. That is very cool from your student side, seeing your playwright teacher’s plays, and the friendships you’ve made with your students and their parents. Congratulations for that!

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  5. What a gem of a teacher Neal Brandlow was and still is presently. Keeping in touch with past students and personally reaching out to them? What a treasure of a trait to carry! I keep in touch with a few high school teachers, mostly through FB. Although I often wonder about my art teacher, who had the biggest influence on me as a whole. I went to a tremendously large university, so getting to know a professor on a personal level wasn’t all that common (and I was too busy being social to try..!). Great post, Mark!

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    • I can’t wait to see you again, pal. Thank you for reminding me, and everybody, about the link to the book published by Brian’s company. There were some good writers involved, as I recall! Go Islanders!! When they move to Brooklyn, are they going to keep the name? I can’t see it being anything else.

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  6. I don’t think I ever really “knew” my university professors. We were more like cattle than people to befriend. I don’t think I ever sat and had a conversation with one of them in four years. Now you’re making me sad.

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    • I think one of the reasons this happened at this little New York State College was because it was that small. When I transferred to the University of Maryland at College Park, it was more like you described for your Texas time. There were, though, teachers in my major there, too, who got to know the students. Not like Morrisville, though. Thanks, Kerbey.

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  7. How very cool!

    I haven’t kept in touch with my teachers, mainly because I don’t live in my hometown and haven’t attended any reunions. I wouldn’t know where to begin, except maybe Facebook.

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