Great teachers like the late Darrell Lund are a dying breed

Dec 18 2010 - 11:34pm

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If news coverage were solely determined by who has the most impact on the most people, school teachers would get headlines and politicians would be ignored.

Yes, I know: Obama will make us into socialists and the Taliban wants to kill us all. Big whoop. Who taught you to show up for work on time?

I thought so.

Maybe not so much any more. My Weber State University professor friends complain about a flurry of students who don't show for class, don't do the reading, don't take the test and still want to get a good grade.

"Welcome to adulthood!" the good professors say. "Adults flunk when they don't do the work." Amazingly, many students don't appreciate the favor those teachers are doing them.

Darrell Lund's students did. He was the sort of high school teacher that college professors love, which is why I found myself enjoying lunch with his wife, Ivaloo Lund, and former student Gary Thornley last week.

Ivaloo's husband was a band teacher at a variety of high schools in Top of Utah from 1957 until he retired in 1992. His list of schools includes North Cache High School, Lewiston Junior High, Weber High School, Roy High School and finally Bonneville High School.

Darrell died in his sleep Nov. 11. While I can't say he was the best high school band teacher ever, I have enough friends who thought highly of him to at least give the class of people he represents a kind thought or two.

Teaching high school band is not easy work. My friend Ron Ross, who played with Darrell in the Ogden Concert Band, reminds me that high school band teachers "have to learn all the instruments because they have to teach them to the students."

A former student, Rod Rippon, said band teachers have it particularly hard because they have to get every student up to par or the whole band sounds bad.

Think of learning the Battle of Gettysburg by teaching each student what a different soldier did, then having them all perform the battle.

Gary said band teachers are "the ones we remember. They're the ones who had influence on us because they were always mentoring us. They were always on us to be on time, to be thorough. Those are the things you use later. I don't know where else I'd have gotten those."

Rod had Darrell both as a private tutor and as Bonneville High School band teacher. Rod twice went to the Calgary Stampede with the band, which won second place in 1972 and first place in 1974.

"I'll never forget the week we studied Wozzeck, the first opera by the 20th Century Austrian Composer Alban Berg," he said. If your eyes just glazed over, so did his, at first.

"In my teenage mind I thought, 'Wow, this is really weird,' " but he stuck to it and "my eyes were opened to the vast wealth of great music out there in the world ... I credit Darrell, among others, for whetting my appetite for exploring the great world of music."

Rod uses what Darrell taught him in his own math classes at Rocky Mountain Junior High School.

"He was strict, he had standards. He wanted you to do your very best and he called you on the carpet if you didn't."

Thirty-plus years later, Darrell's students still thank him for it, too.

Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. You can call him at 801-625-4232 or e-mail ctrentelman@standard.net. He also blogs at www.standard.net.

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