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Mr. O'kneski: Social Sciences • Delaware Military Academy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

This essay is for a teacher I will never forget. He is of an undetermined age and ­unknown origin, though he claims to be from New Jersey. Loud, funny, slightly ­insane but smarter than most of us – my favorite teacher is definitely Mr. John O'Kneski (or as we call him here, Mr. O). He is a product of Jersey but has been all over the U.S. He has a sense of humor few can fathom and no one can replicate. He is an agnostic who is certified to teach comparative religion. There are many things about Mr. O that make him unlike any other teacher. There are good teachers, amazing teachers, bad, terrible, wonderful, weird, crazy and even peculiar teachers. Then there is Mr. O.

In the beginning of the year he seemed pretty intimidating, regardless of his small stature, but he quickly turned into many students' favorite teacher. He's a great civics/geography/history teacher. He starts every class with a long drawn out, “Attention ooooonnnnnnnn deck!” And usually continues with, “All right, here's what's up – We've got a mega plethora of ­activities today. We've got a European map quiz and a Washington Post assignment due today. Then I want to show a BBC video on the rebel activity in Syria.”

No two days in class are the same. One day we'll go over the course of the papacy and the next we learn about Brown v. Board of Education. A day later we talk about Syrian rebels or North Korea's latest activity. Mr. O is truly dedicated to getting us accurate and current information from the BBC or the Washington Post. And every now and then he will let us decide which BBC news story to watch, including ones about giant ­rubber ducks or albino wallabies in Australia.

Mr. O will be remembered by many for his comments, especially his favorite to the guys: “You won't like it if it doesn't have blood, sex, or body waste.” My favorite is: “If you don't like it, we'll put you in the little jeep and take you over to the William Penn, how's that?” Still, class is not all fun and games. A year ago if you tried to teach me politics I would have gotten bored and probably gone to sleep. But Mr. O's class is really interesting. I know who the current chief justice of the Supreme Court is; I know the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense; I know what a bench trial and appellate court are. I have learned a lot in Mr. O's class, despite all the fun. Many will remember him as “A lion in the underbrush, you won't see me, but I will see you. My loins are girded and I'm ready to pounce. If I see cheating I will leap from the tall grass and rip up your test before your very eyes. And I'm not whistling Dixie in the dark, whatever that means.”

I believe that Mr. John O'Kneski is the best freshman teacher at my school. It's important to have a teacher who is good at their job, actually knows a lot about what they teach, and who isn't overly serious. I would like to nominate Mr. O for the Educator of the Year. And … “If you don't like it, we'll put you in the little jeep and take you over to the William Penn, how's that?”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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