Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seasons of Love (RENT)

I am sad to announce the recent passing of Mr. Ronald W. Tietz. For those of you who knew him, he taught both ninth grade honors history and humanities at Bethel Park High School. There are some teachers who we hate and others we simply acknowledge later forgetting. However there are few who make a direct impact and leave a lasting impression in both our minds and our hearts. Mr. Teitz was one of those people.
This man wasn’t just a history teacher, he was history. When he taught us the Declaration of Independence it was with hand motions. When he taught us Thomas Paine it was with hand motions. Then why did the colonies want to succeed from the US? Easy, the practice of mercantilism. Taking both hands to this day I mingle my fingers showing how the colonies traded amongst themselves. Still to this day I can take my thumb saying “aught oh!” The way Mr. Tietz used to. Then there was Manifest Destiny. How could we forget the projects and the posters. At the time we thought it was crazy but guess what? We all still remember.
Then there was Humanities. This was the second half of Mr. Tietz. Using hand motions he taught us the Communist Manifesto as well as John Stuart Mill. I also remember Plato and can still quote him directly. My fourth period humanities class was like a little family that year. I got to know everyone and I still talk to many of those people on facebook. One thing was for sure, we all loved Mr. Tietz.
Once during that year Mr. Tietz was sick for several days and we were beginning to get concerned. Some of the guys from the class worried that our beloved teacher was in peril almost sent a search party to his house. I remember one substitute teacher told us, “I have never met the beloved Mr. Tietz but I have never seen so many students bummed that their teacher was gone. What does this guy do to get this response?”
The answer was that he was funny, good hearted, and made learning pleasurable. Not to mention he taught us and challenged our minds in ways that benefitted us in years down the line. In addition, he was also supportive of his students in their outside pursuits. When I was on public access television, Mr. Tietz turned in. He also read my articles and not to mention he always came every year to see musical. The year I was in the Wizard of Oz Mr. Tietz was poised with binoculars in the audience. We all wondered who the man was with the specs. Then it was answered one day during study hall.
Mr. Tietz also wrote a wonderful college recommendation for my brother as well as myself. For those of us who had the pleasure to know such a wonderful individual with a vast body of knowledge and a love for teaching this is a staggering loss to all of us. My sympathies to his family at this difficult time.
Here is to you Mr. Ronald W. Tietz, to a life well led.

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