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Julian Farrell • Social Studies • Valley Stream South High School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


No matter what happens to me in life, I will never forget Mr. Farrell’s eighth-grade social studies class. Every student in that class respected Mr. Farrell both as a teacher and as a friend.

Mr. Farrell had a lovable teaching style. He would often stray from the traditional teaching method of standing in front of the class lecturing. Instead, he made the class interactive and brought the subjects to life. He would create review games, including Jeopardy, which made history much easier to remember. Three years later I still thank Mr. Farrell, since I’m currently taking AP American history, and remembering the content from his class makes a big difference.

I’ll also never forget Mr. Farrell’s ice cream sundae assembly line. In order to demonstrate the efficiency of Henry Ford’s auto assembly line, students raced Mr. Farrell in a contest to see who could create more ice cream sundaes in a given time. Of course, the assembly line students beat the single teacher and produced many more sundaes, which we devoured in celebration.

Another aspect unique to Mr. Farrell’s teaching style was that he presented students with controversial questions in his famous Fish Bowl Debates. Students would be divided into two groups based on their opinion on a topic. The sides would then take turns sending up representatives to defend their viewpoint.

This is where Mr. Farrell’s famous quotes came into play, such as “Never ever swirl.” Now, that may sound bizarre, but it was a very valuable life lesson that happened to originate from an experience buying ice cream. I’ll spare you the details, but the moral was that life is filled with difficult decisions and sometimes we won’t be able to “swirl” our choices like we can with ice cream flavors. This was one of the quotes displayed on our class T-shirt. And it still rings in my ears.

The second quote inscribed on our T-shirts is “Cancel sixth period!” Mr. Farrell would yell this in the closing minutes of nearly every class. He wanted to cancel the following period so his class could continue our in-depth discussions. Many of his students would agree, but unfortunately, cancelling the next class was not within our power. No student wanted his class to end. In addition to leaving with a better understanding of history, we took priceless life lessons with us. For that I’d like to thank Mr. Farrell. I will never forget the fun times and his words of wisdom.

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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