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March 11, 2007 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Mr. P

My high school advanced biology teacher, the late Mr. P, was pretty awesome.

I mean, as a person.  I think as a teacher, he was fatally flawed. 

If anyone who attended Butte High School reads this, I should expect hate mail over this.  Mr. P was a perennial favorite of everyone.  Here’s why.

He never flunked anyone, nor did he ever give anyone less than an A.  If he was wearing his favorite green sweater (which he did at least three times a week) and you told him “Hey Mr. P, you’re wearing chlorophyll!”, you’d get ten extra credit points.  Each class he turned over grade-taking duties to a kid in the back of the room.  He’d hand the entire grade book over to said kid, and said kid would immediately begin filling in 100%’s for assignments that hadn’t even been assigned yet.  In AP biology, the kid in the back of the room who was suddenly in charge of our grades could not have been more inappropriate for the job. 

Mr. P had been going to college ever since he left high school, and when I was attending BHS he was in his late fifties.  Mr. P had a pile of master’s degrees.  And because teachers there get paid based on expertise, Mr. P was very well compensated.  At the time, Mr. P was rumored to be the highest-paid district employee, possibly making more than the superintendent.

After classes ended, you could find Mr. P sitting on a barstool a couple of streets away from the high school.  He was always friendly, always polite, and always professional.  There was just something so childlike about him.  He clearly loved learning.  It’s really too bad he taught high school students, who were too immature to appreciate this in him.  We mostly skipped class to head over to Bob-a-Louie’s for a burrito and a Coke, instead of listening him to ramble on incoherently about phlya. 

And that’s the thing about Mr. P.   He really did spend the entire class teaching.  He would go on and on about things that no one could comprehend.  He was using advanced university type terminology in front of a class full of kids who couldn’t wait to cruise the strip on Friday night. 

I’ll never forget the science fair that year.  Normally I loved the science fair.  But not my senior year.  I was way too busy having fun.  I hate to admit this, but me and my two science class partners threw our project together on the way to school the morning it was due.  (Don’t worry you two…your identities are safe with me)

Finally senior finals week arrived.  Mr. P’s biology final was a killer.  Or it would have been, had he not been somewhere in space.  The test went something like this:  On a slide projector, Mr. P flashed up twenty different kinds of fish.  We’re talking rainbow trout to large mouth bass to clownfish.  Our duty was to (from memory) write down the kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species of each fish.  Absolutely no one in our class knew a single answer.  I remember what I wrote though.  My answers were:

One fish

Two fish

Red fish

Blue fish

My score?  98%. 

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2 Comments

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  1. Ristan / May 11 2007 4:10 am

    Hey what ever happened to P anyway? What was is real name? Paskavich??

    I loved that guy

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