10.2 RICK DOBLE'S STORY OF AN ABUSIVE TEACHER, WILLIAM DOOLITTLE OF INDIAN MOUNTAIN SCHOOL, IMS
When I was twelve and thirteen, I took Latin with the principal of the school, a William Doolittle of Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, Connecticut, in 1956-1958. He was the most abusive teacher I was exposed to in all my years of education which included graduate school.
While I did well in all my other studies at Indian Mountain School and had been on the school honor roll, I did not have a native talent for languages. In seventh and eighth grade I decided to take Latin four days a week. It was taught by only one person, the principle.
Latin for me was a struggle, although I always passed with a grade of C or average. For some unknown reason, William Doolittle decided to pick on me almost from the beginning. He made it a point to humiliate me in front of my friends by asking me difficult questions and when I could not answer, telling me how stupid I was. Instead of moving on to someone else, he then would ask me another difficult question and if I got it wrong, tell me again how stupid I was. At the same time later in the day, I was getting an A in Algebra at the age of thirteen with the principle's wife in another class. Yet William Dolittle got a perverse joy out of making me sweat. There were many others in the class who got the same grade as I did or lower, but he never picked on them.
After a couple of months of this, I began to tremble before the class started. There were days when I was not sure that I could survive another hour with him. And unfortunately once I had taken Latin One, I also had to take Latin Two the following year with the same man, William Doolittle.
As a student I felt helpless. My friends were not much help, because as principle he was so powerful, they did not want him to turn on them as well. Somehow I made it through those two years but when I see bulletins from my school revering him as a great educator, I am filled with anger. There should have been a way to prevent such behavior in a teacher, especially one in such an important position.
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