Today I heard some very sad news, my high school chemistry teacher passed away. This is the second high school teacher to pas away this year. First teacher was Mrs. Holmes who lost her battle with cancer. I’ve not heard the details on what happened to Coach Shewmaker, but didn’t want to wait to post a tribute to him.
Coach Shew’s class was where I learned to play chess, learned that some teachers teach because they want to pass their love of a subject to others, learned that crotchy old men make great life and chemistry teacher, and learned that everyone has a story.
One of Coach Shew’s favorite sayings was “RTDP” – Read the Damn Problem. Another of his sayings was, “Hot glass looks just like cold glass”, but that’s for another posting. He’d write RTDP across homework papers, on tests, tell you or just shout it at you. The first test I handed into Coach came back to me with large red letters written on it, “RTDP.” He said to me as he handed the paper back, “Taylor [my maiden name], you answered some question but not the one I asked, READ THE DAMN PROBLEM”. It is because of Coach Shewmaker that I read every college exam question twice before answering it. It is because of Coach Shewmaker that I enjoy playing chess (even though I haven’t played in a while). It is because of Coach that I realized that chemistry was not my forte and I choose Geology instead at college. And it is because of Coach that I’ve thought about his class all evening.
So in honor of Coach Wayne Shewmaker, remember to RTDP!