My first class with Dr. Sam Sebesta, retired professor of education, leveled me--quite literally! One moment I was seated most properly in my business suit, the next I found myself on the floor covered with a bedspread portraying Madeline, a character from a children's book by Ludwig Bemelman. After that, my ideas about teaching reading to elementary students were never the same. I learned to love and experience literature for children, to have a light-hearted spirit as a teacher and to enjoy expressing myself using literature as a means.
Dr. Sam, as he was lovingly known to his students, ably demonstrated techniques for enlivening literature using storytelling, reader's theater, art projects and student produced newspapers.
Once as he was telling the story of "Camp Fat" by E.L. Konigsburg, one of the table legs collapsed sending our storyteller to the floor. With a slight blush, Dr. Sam slid another table in place, checked all four legs, hopped up and resumed his tale never missing a beat.
Students in Dr. Sebesta's classes prepared to teach reading by writing papers and reading in their areas of interest. The emphasis was on fundamental knowledge of the process of reading and on projects which could actually be used in the classroom.
It was my good fortune to have Dr. Sam as teacher, mentor and supervisor while I worked as a teaching assistant for the College of Education. Because of his joy of life and respectful treatment of students, I present Dr. Sam Sebesta as my favorite professor.
Elizabeth A. Cook, '86
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