Maddie's Mind

Surviving McLamb
By Maddie Claytor | Feb 13, 2013

As most of you may know, I attend Haywood Early College. Our class schedules are set up for Early College students to take college classes along with high school classes each semester. I get to meet different professors and really get to know them. Out of the three college professors I have this semester, the one that stands out to me the most is Mr. McLamb. He teaches my western civilization class and has been a professor for seven years. His class is known for being difficult mostly because he comes off as pretty rough. Things that myself and other students have found is that he has a very dry sense of humor, does not like us to use Wikipedia and "Nay, Nay Little Bear" is his catchphrase. Most of the Early College students have had his class and their opinions on him vary. They either love him or hate him. I, myself just started his class. His teaching style interests me so I decided to ask some of his past and present students.

Class starts off every day with students writing a daily question for him. Questions can range from assignment topics, to a "would you rather" question, to preferences on food. After the daily question we look at Powerpoint slides, listen to informational lectures and take lots and lots of notes. The class is steady from beginning to end. His most enforced rule is "No packing up early!" I don't want to say he's extreme, but the students who have passed his class sell shirts that read, "I survived McLamb." They are worn as a badge of honor.

I had the chance to sit down with him after school and ask a few questions.

Q: Why do you like to be stricter with the Early College students?

A: Early College students should be held to the same behavior as the college students, which is something that they're not used to, and I have to reinforce that. Reinforcing that behavior can come across as strict.

Q: What do you hope the Early College students take away from the class other than a knowledge of Western Civilization?

A: I hope students take away study and life skills that will prepare them to be effective employees.

Q: What do you think the Early College students struggles with most?

A: College expectations. Primarily knowing that their work must be done. The only good paper is a done paper.

Q: What do they excel at?

A: Although it's hard, they do well at discussion-based learning. I've found that when they talk things out, they do better.

Q: What's your favorite thing about teaching the Early College?

A: Their enthusiasm for learning.

Q: If you had to choose, would you rather teach regular college or Early College?

A: College, simply because that's what I planned on doing when I got my degree. In a perfect world, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference."

I interviewed Early College students who had either "survived" McLamb's class or were currently taking it and hoped to "survive." Skylar Paris and Caleb Pearman are both freshman and "survivors."

Q: What did you take from his class?

Paris - "Responsibility with turning things in on time."

Q: What did you struggle with most?

Paris - "Remembering the material."

Pearman - "The final exam because it was a cumulative."

Q: What was your favorite thing you did?

Paris - "A research project I did on the environmental problems in the industrial revolution."

Pearman - "Daily questions because he'll answer anything (appropriate) you ask him."

Q: What was your least favorite thing you did?

Paris - "The tests. They were challenging."

Pearman - "The movie analysis. I wasn't really interested in the movie ("The Man in the Iron Mask")."

Q: What was your favorite memory of his class?

Paris - "The day he dressed up in a Santa suit before winter break."

Pearman - "When he explained to us how he would look in skinny jeans."

Nova Millheiser is a freshman and current student in McLamb's class.

Q: What was your first impression of him?

Millheiser - "I thought he was really scary."

Q: What do you like best about his class so far?

Millheiser - "Taking notes and his sense of humor in his lectures."

Q: How does this class compare to the other history classes you've had before?

Millheiser - "The classes I had before were really boring and the work was really tedious. Mr. McLamb makes class more exciting.

Even though the Early College students may think he's tough, he just has their best interest in mind and does add humor. All in all, I've concluded that though Mr. McLamb's class may be challenging, you receive more than course credit and knowledge of western civilization. You leave with independence, responsibility and life skills. I just hope I get a T-shirt.