Sampselle may be old, but he was a student once too

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Sampselle may be old, but he was a student once too

English teacher David Sampselle helps senior Jeff Flores with an assignment

English teacher David Sampselle helps senior Jeff Flores with an assignment

Sarah Elbeshbishi

English teacher David Sampselle helps senior Jeff Flores with an assignment

Sarah Elbeshbishi

Sarah Elbeshbishi

English teacher David Sampselle helps senior Jeff Flores with an assignment

Brennan Guilds

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Dinosaurs are pretty old, but English teacher David Sampselle is older.

“I was in chemistry when [John F. Kennedy] was assassinated,”  Sampselle said. If one statement can so easily summarize the divide between him and the students he teaches, that would be the one. Ten presidents and 54 years separates the time between when he was taking chemistry and the time that sophomores and juniors at the Mill take chemistry.

But that divide, however long in time and however wide in differences, is made small by a common trait we all share. We were all at one point or another, students.

“My mom told me that if they had known what ADHD was back then, I would have been a textbook candidate,” Sampselle said. “I was just like a bull in a china shop, did everything without thinking. I broke eight bones in my body before I was ten years old.”

Although both alike in spirit the institution that trained us, schools have changed massively between times.

“Back then, students weren’t expected, nor were we really allowed, to talk spontaneously…We had to sit there and raise our hands, quietly take notes and listen, study for quizzes,” Sampselle added.

This contrasts starkly with the involved and active learning environment that teachers try to cultivate today.

He went on to highlight  the differences between the sexes that still sometimes prevail today. “Girls were required to ‘dress properly.’ They had to wear long dresses… [and boys] weren’t allowed to wear jeans. We had to wear slacks,” Sampselle added. “[Clothing] was very much stricter than it is now.”

Despite his years of experience, he never forces his wisdom onto students. “I hate ever preaching at teenagers because they don’t like it and they don’t listen and it’ll have a negative effect,” Sampselle said.

While times were certainly different when Sampselle was a student, he prefers many things about today’s education. “I really like the fact that the students have much more freedom. I think there are limits that need to be established that haven’t been established but it wasn’t a pleasant time to go to school back then,” Sampselle added.

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