Born: May 7, 1932
Retired teacher George Feldman doesn’t see a lot of difference between today’s youth and youth of 30, 40 or 50 years ago.
Many of the problems confronted by teachers today were issues when he was in the classroom, he said. “Every generation says youth are worse than the generation before. But that’s not true.
“Many kids think that everything you say is a fabrication. They have to always find out for themselves.”
The way to get through to them is through people they trust, Mr. Feldman said. “The best thing to do is to bring back those who had reputations in sports or who were in neighborhood gangs and let them tell the teenagers what the world is really like.”
Mr. Feldman estimates that he taught more than 50,000 youth during his days in the classroom as a middle and high school Latin and English teacher in Warren Township and Indianapolis schools.
Mr. Feldman was born in South Bend where he graduated from John Adams High School in 1950. He graduated from Hanover College in 1954 with a major in classical languages.
After a stint in the Army as a medic for a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit during the Korean War, Mr. Feldman returned to Indiana where he and his wife, Annie, who he met at college, started their teaching careers in Jamestown.
Always most interested in teaching school in a large city, Mr. Feldman took a job at Westlane Junior High School in Indianapolis and taught Latin there two years before becoming a Latin teacher at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, where he spent most of his career. He returned from retirement to teach English at Howe High School also in Indianapolis.
If you were an Eastside Indianapolis resident, chances are Mr. Feldman was your Latin or English teacher.
“I taught so many children and then many of their children,” said Mr. Feldman.
After his teaching career, Mr. Feldman became a Warren Township Schools Board member and served two terms, from 1990 to 1998. This experience gave him a broader perspective of issues schools face.
He said schools’ biggest problem is money, not the students. “Schools are hard pressed for funds. You have to pay bus drivers, janitors, teachers and on and on. There’re just too many pieces of the pie. Everybody’s got their hand out,” he said.
Also difficult is attracting good staff. “Industry buys out your best people,” he said. “Technology hasn’t helped. The more complicated and technological we become, the harder it is to manage.”
Mr. Feldman said he was most proud of his student’s participation in the Honors Abroad Program, which immersed selected students in Spanish, French, German, Russian and Latin cuture.
“As long as I was teaching, I always tried to have students who were contenders,” he said.
Mr. Feldman and his late wife had two sons, George and Geoffrey. Geoffrey preceded Mrs. Feldman in death. He also has two grandchildren.