Canadian KCC’s book is a great lad’s book – full of adventure, life choices, love and success. Somehow, he managed to write a GP version of the 1970s. However, his WordPress blog https://kimchampniss.wordpress.com/about/ is much more fascinating. If you know kids from 10 to 18 – they would enjoy reading his adventures and life choices. He successfully helped me understand the cultural phenomena of skinheads: the high testosterone glee of fighting and surviving.
In his blog, his intelligence free ranges from a Canadian Niagara Falls WWI internment camp to his love for libraries. I would love to read his second book: The Republic Of Rock ‘N’ Roll: The Roaring ’80s from Curtis To Cobain. But internet foibles prevent me from ordering it. For now, his blog is my favorite. He writes beautifully: intelligence in harmony with emotion.
How did I find a Canadian icon while living in Portugal? Who hasn’t Googled their own name? I found one of my many names: A. Delaney Walker in KCC’s book’s section ‘Acknowledgements’.
I remembered him from the first day of the University of British Columbia’s required composition classes, September 1975. For introductions, I asked students to share a secret. Of course, I went first. I cheated. I told a childhood story about stealing money from the Catholic Church’s candle slots people put in quarter or dollars in their petition for redemption.
The class exchanged secrets and Kim’s made many classmates’ eyes widen. He was honest, as were many students in that first writing class I ever taught.
Of course, I ordered the book. KCC clearly communicated the emotional highs of being a skinhead: fighting as well as eluding rivals through London’s underground system. I finally understood a reality that had confused me.
Further travels took him ‘up North’ with the Inuits and fur-trading. Then to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Of course, I immediately read his e-book, anxious to find me. Nope. But his description of another class with a Dept. of Creative Writing teacher was fascinating.
I was 25 when I taught him. At 65, I was run out of Turkey, with a Dept. Head’s evaluation that would scare the bejesus out of anyone! Its awesome negativity shocked even me.
The first year at Abdullah Gul University, I worked seven days a week for four quarters. Twice I claimed a weekend, only to fail my writing students in being late giving them feedback. So the boss and I agreed I wouldn’t teach writing the next year. I had argued with him for four quarters on how to fashion an appropriate first-year composition class.
At my age, I was tired of incompetent people, so I freely and often challenged and argued with him over the syllabus. Finally, near the end of that first year he parroted EVERY SINGLE ARGUMENT of mine he had ridiculed, To top it off, in his inglorious bastard of my evaluation, he refused to cite anything positive about me. And my input into the writing program.
That’s how 30 years of teaching ended.
So when I found my name listed under “Acknowledgements’ in Kim Clark Champness’s book SKINHEADS, FUR TRADERS AND DJS, my life as a writing teacher was redeemed.
Everyone out there with a favorite teacher, say, “Thank you.”
I found my high school Latin teacher. I’m grateful she’s still alive in her 80s. I thanked her ‘for saving my life’ during my tormented childhood. She was one of the very few adults in my teenage world who saw my pain and relieved it. Thank you, Sister Aloysius. And thank you, Kim, for your acknowledgement.