Trial By Teaching, Enduring Assaults and Insults in Public Schools by James J. Gaudio


Author’s Note: I included this section in the book at the advice of a former colleague who knew me well, professionally, and who volunteered to proof the book. She feared that without an impressive endorsement, I might be dismissed as just some old crank who didn’t know much about teaching anyway. I could think of no better endorsers than my former students. The comments contained in the Endorsements section of the book were unsolicited and gathered over a period of about thirteen years. The great majority came from former students, but some are from other sources, too. Those below represent a little more than half of what I included in the book’s Endorsements section.

"Dear Mr. Gaudio,
We asked Gina to reflect back on all the teachers she has had over the past 12 years and bring to mind those that had made the greatest impression on her education. Your name was the first mentioned. She felt you had given her a great interest in a possible career in some science field, and that you showed great concern and understanding for your students...Thank you for all that you have given and done for Gina in her high school years!"
Gina’s Parents

"Greetings Mr. Gaudio!
It is a rarity for me to receive letters from past students commenting on the quality of instruction of teachers in the school district. Yet, I did get a copy of one such letter from Brandon S. referencing several of your previous students and himself to their success in chemistry at the Colorado School of Mines...Please accept my sincerest thank you for the exceptional instruction and caring you give our students each and every day. You are a credit to our profession and exemplify the quiet honor that should be acknowledged more often in our community, state and nation."
Superintendent of Schools, St. Vrain Valley School District

"Dear Mr. Gaudio,
...First I want to share how fun it is, for both Sean and I, to be at the Colorado School of Mines and to be tutoring others in chemistry…I am here [Mines] with a thorough realization and a renewed confidence in my chemistry skills. But this is not an isolated incident...Dan [another former, Gaudio chemistry student at Mines] recalled that during his recitation a teacher looked at Dan’s review, and another student’s, and then said to Dan, 'It looks like some people had better teachers in high school than others.' I remember that you once told me, 'I [Gaudio] don’t grade any of the students nearly as hard as I grade myself.' Well, Mr. Gaudio, give yourself and A+."
Brandon (the former student who wrote to the superintendent)

"Dear Mr. Gaudio,
This is to say a big THANKS for being the best teacher at SHS! ...Sara [writer’s daughter] has learned so much in your classes and has enjoyed only America were filled with teachers like you. I think that the greatest compliment for you is that the students know you care, and if they are asked which teacher they respect the most, the answer is always 'Mr. Gaudio'...keep up the good work and don’t change a thing!"
Sara’s mother

"Dear Mr. Gaudio,
My major is chemistry, which brings me to the point that I am writing about...I find the C111 course to be a complete review of good ol' CP Chemistry at SHS. In fact, I found it so easy that I took the final for the class and passed out of the course.  I am now enrolled in the next highest class...I am excellent at preparing my pre-labs and my techniques in the lab are impressing my TA. The other students in the class are coming to me for help...I am in your debt sir!"
Andrew (former student)


"Mr. Gaudio,
I thank you for being committed to excellence in a school that seems to be complacent with mediocrity...I thought that you should know that, despite complaining parents, staff, and students, your teaching style is very much appreciated by at least myself. As long as you teach...don’t ever change your methods. This is not a sentiment I am expressing to every teacher in the building, either – not a mass produced 'thank you' that is handed out like A’s in the social studies department...You are the only teacher in the building I have nothing but terrific memories of – memories far beyond chemistry. I hope I can someday do your teaching justice. Thank you for your high standards for your students."
Marc (former student)

"...Over the next few months I got used to Mr. Gaudio’s style of teaching and loved the fact that we were required to put forth our best effort and learn [in order] to get a good grade. I found that by studying until I understood everything being taught, I could not only pass the class [College Prep Chemistry], but actually enjoy it. The class that I dreaded soon became my favorite...Perhaps the most important thing that I learned in Mr. Gaudio’s CP Chemistry was that I am not the timid person I thought I was. I have proven to myself that I can face daunting challenges and still succeed. I am encouraged about my future because I know I can overcome moments of terror and face the new opportunities and adventures confidently. Oh, I also learned quite a bit about chemistry too."
Laura (former student; quoted from a paper she wrote titled, "Chemistry with Mr. Gaudio")

"Mr. Gaudio,
College has been wonderful...I use a lot of principles that I learned in your chemistry course; like, not using faculty-run review sessions as a replacement for lectures, and understanding conceptually what I’m being taught...Thanks for all the work you did in high school for me and others. I enjoyed it, and now college is much easier."
Eric (from an e-mail he sent from college)

"Mr. Gaudio,
I’m sure you know at this point that I will not be in your class next trimester. This probably means nothing to you, but I just wanted to say thank you for helping me so much this tri. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that you did not give up on me!
Nikki (former student)

"Dear Mr. Gaudio,
In my English class, I had to write a paper…in the paper we had to include people who had influenced us in the decision of our major.  I put you as one of my influences because even though Chemistry wasn’t the easiest subject for me, I learned a lot more than formulas in your class. I learned a lot about myself and that the letter that is reported for your grade in the class doesn’t always reflect how much you learned in the class. I know that there weren’t any points handed out just for the heck of it. I know that every point that I received I earned."
Dawn (former student)

"Mr. Gaudio,
Thank you so much for everything. I really feel that your class has helped prepare me for the real world. You are an amazing teacher and your stories are the best! I love the way you run your class – we get things done and we learn, but we still manage a few laughs along the way. Thank you for everything; I truly appreciate it."
Adriane (former student)

"Dear Sir,
Soon I will be leading sailors and men of my own, if they respect and listen to me half as much as your students do, I will be very happy with the results."
Peter (former student)

"Mr. Gaudio,
...From our exposure to the high expectations in your class, and to your startling work ethic, I feel that those of us who took your class will carry with us an increased ability to perform under even the most difficult challenges, and I am confident that your class has had what will become a lasting impact on many of us."
Paul (former student)

"Dear Mr. Gaudio,
...I just had my first test [freshman, college chemistry] and I got a 97% on it. Eam [another former student] and I have both noticed that we are above the expected levels in our chemistry classes. I just wanted to let you know that you did a wonderful job with our chemistry class."
Cori (former student)


"Mr. Gaudio,
...You are one of my biggest role models because you do look at life sometimes from that serious side, but you handle things with care and integrity. I can only hope to do my job with the thoroughness in which you do yours...I can remember laughing and almost crying (when my experiment blew up) and stressing [out] and thinking: These are the things that life is made of; however I thank you for that gift: a little slice of life."
Rachel (former student)

"Thanks so much for being a teacher who taught and never let your class get distracted. You were always getting right down to business and I actually learned from that! Oh, I still will tell people that you eat students for lunch."
Brenton (former student)

Thank you for being one of my best teachers and friends. I’ll stop by in a couple of years."
Brandon (former student)

You could travel the world over and never find a better teacher. Thanks!"
Casey (former student)

"Mr. Gaudio,
...I don’t think it’s possible to express my gratitude in words. I appreciate your teaching so much. I’ve never had such an organized, well prepared, efficient and systematic teacher...I appreciate what you’ve done and the kind of teacher you are. Thank you."
Jenna (former student)

"Gaudio (short, feisty, hairless Chemistry teacher),
...I whole-heartedly thank you for playing one of the most significant roles in my high school years. If ever I encounter such situations as losing my hair, or not being able to reach the top of the chalkboard, I will be able to look back and feel confident that I would be making the correct choice if I did things the Jim Gaudio way."
Alex (former student)

"Dear Mr. Gaudio,
I know you’d like us all to think that you’re intimidating, and that we don’t mean a thing to you, but we both know that neither of those is true. I’m so glad I signed up for your class – you’ve taught me so much about Chemistry, and more importantly about life…I just wanted you to know what a huge difference your class made in my life."
Liz (former student)

"I went through all three trimesters of his [Gaudio’s] class even though only two were needed. I passed the classes with a C+, but it was a C+ that I earned through my hard work and effort. As opposed to just sitting there and taking all the easy classes, I learned from Gaudio something I will never forget: I don’t need special treatment for my problems. I just need to try to put my full effort into my work and I will get rewarded, no matter how hard the task. Thanks, Gaudio."
Robert (former student; excerpt form a paper he wrote titled, "First Day in Jim Gaudio’s Chemistry Class;" Robert had difficulty reading.)

"Mr. Gaudio,
....Don’t let anyone tell you to make your class easier or less stressful. You know as well as I do that that would be a disservice. Honestly, I wish I had more teachers like you...I only have one request for you.  If you ever get my brother in your class, do for him what you did for me."
Mike (from an e-mail he sent from college)