Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Gino Scalo: History Teacher, Carmel Valley Middle School This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Before I first stepped into the frigid atmosphere of Mr. Scalo's realm, I pulled on my fur-lined parka and took out my sealskin gloves, well-prepared and ready to brave the cold.

Well, actually, I just shivered and tugged at the ends of my T-shirt, wishing I had brought a jacket. I stepped through the door and craned my neck to look for familiar faces that first day of school. Unfortunately, I did not get to sit with my friends since the assigned seats were arranged in alphabetical order. I was forced to sit in the front column of desks while my friends sat far away, in the other half of the frozen tundra of a classroom.

I have an abundance of friends who had Mr. Scalo as their history teacher, and I heard he was challenging. I heard his classroom was an icebox. But all my friends described him as funny. Whether they meant odd or humorous, I wasn't sure. Now I consider him to be both.

Mr. Scalo was a contestant on “Jeopardy” a few years ago. On the last day of school before winter break, he showed us a “special video presentation.” Though we did not watch the whole show, we saw him make it past his first day on the show, and we couldn't help but cheer him on. We were impressed with his knowledge of presidents' inaugural speeches (to teens this seems the most boring topic ever), but we were not the least bit surprised.

Mr. Scalo is undoubtedly odd in his own way. Instead of the flexible document cameras that some teachers use, Mr. Scalo insists on an old-school overhead projector that requires transparencies and squeaky markers. In fact, he even told us that he refused to change from chalkboards to whiteboards in his previous school. Eventually, he was forced to use them when he moved to teach in sunny Cali, where the schools already had slick whiteboards.

His classroom is home to an agglomeration of rusty, antique-looking Swingline staplers that are probably older than I am. I had never seen a stapler like his before. But despite their apparent age, they have never broken. Mr. Scalo once joked that Abraham Lincoln had used one of his staplers. Had his tone not been so comical, we might have believed him.

Mr. Scalo never fails to make us laugh, which is why he still is my favorite teacher. His humor is irresistible, and he makes history – a subject that some consider bland and boring – a class to look forward to. The words in our history book become an enjoyable story when told in a clever way. Of course, Mr. Scalo's talent of speaking in hilarious accents with edgy humor helps.

However, his class is still a challenge for even the brightest students. We have to memorize the states, their capitals, and their locations at the beginning of the year. This was just the start of a long, hard struggle with memorizing that year. After states, we learned the presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, and their vice presidents and terms. This once caused me to have a dream that Justin Bieber changed his name to J. Danforth Quayle (for those who are not familiar with him, Quayle was vice president under George H.W. Bush, the 41st president). We are currently halfway through memorizing 100 important dates in U.S. history.

Mr. Scalo is a dynamic teacher, one I am very lucky to have. Though I'll admit his classroom no longer feels like Antarctica, he is still significantly different from most of my teachers. His way of teaching through humor is appealing and easy to follow, but his challenging requirements keep students on their toes. He is unique in his teaching skills and his quirkiness, which makes him an unequaled mentor in the lessons of yesteryear.

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




Join the Discussion


This article has 41 comments. Post your own!

mcwwsc said...
Sept. 15, 2013 at 12:03 am:
That's so cool...I have Scalo this year and is classroom is still freezing:)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
hehe^^ said...
May 22, 2012 at 12:44 am:
lol... gotta luv Scalo... i didnt hav him, but i could hear his yelling two classroom trailers away....
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
cloudskater1 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm:
hahaha i just found this....i had scalo last year! omg BEST teacher EVER!!!! i miss him so much i actually wish he'd come work at the high school and teach my class, any class ;D
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
hpfanaticThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm:
hey oregano! omh ur soooo lucky u had mr. scalo. ugh. U.S. History was the worst since my teacher *cough* spoke in a monotone and thought that he was always hilarious(SO not true). I love your piece, though. It's awesome!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
aammaa22 said...
May 16, 2011 at 10:42 pm:
Wow that was really good! you're so good at writing!  I think Mr. Scalo is an awesome teacher too =P
 
mylifeisM6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm :

Amma!!!! Thanks for the nice comment! Love ya <333

mylifeism6

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
SciOlyNerd said...
May 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm:
omg i love this...  i hope you winn!!!  that would be finny if you actually showed this to mr. scalo... i wonder what he would say...
 
mylifeisM6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm :

Haha thanks SciOlyNerd! XD I like your name by the way. (though I never was a part of any science olympiad)

I was planning to send this to him after the contest ended (which is after June)even if this essay is not chosen. 

Anyways, thank you for your support!

<3 mylifeism6!  

 
da.ninja replied...
May 17, 2011 at 8:17 pm :
you totally should send this to him. I bet he'd love it. Maybe he'd even turn off the air conditioning for once.
 
mylifeisM6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm :
AHAHAHAHA oh that is a good one. (unlikely though. I was glad the A/C was off today because I would have froze to death in the rain) XD maybe, just maybe.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
HelloKitty said...
May 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm:
Great! This was fantastic! brazo! byes
 
mylifeisM6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 3, 2011 at 6:51 pm :

Thanks, HelloKitty. (: 

 

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
janelee said...
Apr. 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm:
nicee :D no one could have described mr. scalo better haha(:
 
mylifeisM6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm :

Haha, thanks Jane! :D

Hey, I didn't knew you made a TeenInk account, hun. O:

Do you have anything up? I would love to read some of your writing. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

mylifeism6

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
jalo said...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm:
wow this is really good. mr. scalo sounds like a great teacher but why did you name it rhymes with tallow? the word tallow means.....well you know. xD
 
mylifeisM6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm :

Thanks Jalo!

Actually, I named it "Rhymes with Tallow" because on the first day Mr. Scalo gave us an extra credit opportunity to look up the words that rhyme with his name. Tallow was one of them. XD

<3 mylifeism6

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
LARA123456 said...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm:
WHEN I'M IN MIDDLE SCHOOL. I AM GOING TO WANT THAT TEACHER THANX FOR WRITING THIS GREAT STORY. HAHA BYEZ :p
 
mylifeisM6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm :

Thanks Lara123456!

It means a lot to me, thanks for the comment! Mr. Scalo is a great teacher! :D

<3 mylifeism6

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Gina578 said...
Apr. 23, 2011 at 7:18 pm:
great. thats all i think the other ones are good too. bye
 
mylifeisM6 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 26, 2011 at 10:55 pm :

Thank you(: 

<3 mylifeism6

 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback