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Story time A story of my favorite nun

I will call her Sister Mary. Not her real name minus the Sister part. I knew her in college. I never had her for a teacher. She was late 70s and retired. Well not totally retired. She ran the math department for many, many years and retired two years before I arrived.

Sister Sue, Sue not real name, took over. She put her office in the computer lab, behind a wall and next to the window which extended all across the wall. SM got the office next to hers minus a window view and title "lab manager". SM could put paper into a printer and sell diskettes. This was mid80s we had IBM and Apple IIs machine. She also tutored a lot with math. She could explain a math concept in five minutes flat. I bet she was fantastic as a teacher.

Now even though computers flustered her she always tried to learn at least the basics. Now I do not know if its true in all Catholic colleges but there was an unwritten rule. Retired nuns had the run of the school. If they saw you sitting alone in the cafeteria not doing anything. Guess what. You may find a retired nun suddenly sitting across from you wanting to have idle chitchat. If you were a teacher do not be surprised to see a retired nun in the middle of the class sitting there. SM embodied the latter and more.


During the day it was full time teachers. At night teachers who were parttimers. SM often showed up for classes especially the first few weeks of class. She went to computer classes to help students. She understood the math and logic of programming. It was syntax which she had problems with. As a student, since I am male, I had to be parttime days and the rest of classes to be at night. I took three day classes and one night. I went summers also.

So one night there was a brand new part time teacher. Before class SM walks in and sits next to me. He, the teacher walks in.

He said "May I help you" to SM. Now remember Maria in Sound of Music? SM was like Maria would have been like if she remained a nun. Good hearted and everyone loved her.

She said "no just sitting here" smiling.

He said "you are not on my roster, why don't I get Sister Sue to take you back to your room".


She stood up totally dejected but said to me "let me know what you learned" I nodded. She walked out.

The next class he went over to her and said she is welcome any time. Sister Sue as nice as she was, also had the typical nuns outlook which was they do not treat fools lightly. He did not teach again after semester was over. Yeah Sister Sue was aware by the next morning along with a ton of day students in the department.


Sister Mary had a passion for mysteries and loved Murder She Wrote. Every Monday she would sit in the main computer lab assistants desk and talk about the previous nights episode with anyone.

During the first half of a semester she would walk.around the computer labs, there were two and if you did not look stressed and underpressure she would sit next to you and say "just looking at what you are typing". She would ask about the logic structure and about the syntax. Sure enough what she was doing was making you explain but by explaining one would realize.their errors. It was amazing how well that technique of hers worked.


Do many teachers here use that technique? Noticing a student made a mistake but asking the student to explain what they did and by explaining to you they realize their mistake? I would.imagine this is tough to do but a great way to teach.

She has.been dead for many years but we students loved her. One day I will write about Sister Sue, Machievelli could have been her student.

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