For you Sally as promised:


Once upon a time there was a teacher who told her class that if they could read and spell all the “ist” words in a story she has written, she would give each winner one hundred dollars plus one. When she asked them who would be interested in entering the “ist” contest, everyone raised their hands. “Oh my goodness” said the teacher, “If everyone wins the contest, it will cost me three thousand and thirty one dollars.” She thought about changing her mind, but decided that it wouldn’t be proper. She thought about making it too hard to win, but decided that it wouldn’t be proper either. She thought about being absent from school for a whole week so maybe the kids would forget about it. Then she decided that would be avoiding the issue and would be weaseling out of a promise. She thought that maybe she could move way up into the mountains so no one would ever find her, but that was too silly. Maybe she could make up something different, and even easier and present it to the kids, but she knew they would not go for it. She thought maybe she could tell them that she is very stressed over the promise of the “ist” contest and they would let her out of the promise. But then, she would not be happy with herself. She was thinking that she could just say it was a mistake. No she said out loud, “A promise is a promise.”

The next day the teacher began to explain about “ist” words and how the contest will work.

She said, “ You will all get a story with many words that end in “ist.” You will have to read all of them and tell what they mean out loud to the class. If you read them all and tell what they mean, you will win the contest. You will all have to have your parents sign a participation letter that says they give their permission for you to enter the contest and accept the prize money. If you do not bring the letter signed by one parent back to school, you may still enter the contest and win, but I will not be able to give you the prize money without their consent.

Colby raised his hand and asked: “What are “ist” words?

The teacher asked, “Does anyone know what “ist” words are?”

Carly raised her hand and said, “Is violinist an “ist” word?

The teacher said, “Yes.”

Colby raised his hand and said, “Oh I get it, and words like hobbyist and guitarist are “ist” words.”

Yes, said the teacher. A violinist is a person who plays the violin, a hobbyist is a person who pursues an activity in their spare time for pleasure, and a guitarist is a musician who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of instruments such as acoustic guitars, electric guitars, classical guitars, and bass guitars. So you will see that “ist” at the end of words refers to a person doing something as his work, or as his profession.

Carly added that her dad is a guitarist.

Colby said that he is studying to become a guitarist.

The teacher said that everyone’s homework would be to come up with an “ist” word and bring it in to class the next morning.

The teacher was happy that she did not try to end the “ist” contest. The students were happy, too. When the bell rang, all of the students ran out of the room saying, ist, ist, ist, ist.

Carly and Colby could hardly wait for the next morning to see all of the new words with IST at the end.

The next morning, all of the kids huddled together in the playground sharing their words. The bell rang. Everyone lined up and they were all so excited they could hardly stand still. Soon it would be time for the teacher to come to get them and walk them into the classroom. Here comes the teacher. Oh do you know the teacher’s name?

It is Mrs. Cynthia Noncooperationist. Really? Really!

All of the students sat very quietly in their seats because they knew it was time for the teacher to collect the contest words.

Mrs. Noncooperationist said, “Boys and Girls, I have a basket on my desk and I would like all of the people in row 1 to put their word in the basket.” All of the students in row 1 had words to put in the basket. Everyone had done his or her homework. Row 2 put their words in the basket and row three put theirs in as well. In total, the teacher collected 31 words.

She had decided to break up the lesson into three parts. The first part had 10 words, the second part had ten words, and the third part had ten words. Hey, you are thinking to yourself, “that is only thirty words.” You are right, but one of the words was Mrs. Noncooperationist. This is a word put in by Joey and the teacher thinks you should be able to read and spell her name. She explained that she thought it was very unique for Joey to put her name in the basket. The definition of noncooperationist is a person who is not willing to work together with another person, group, or organization. Mrs. Noncooperationist said that when she got married to Mr. Noncooperationist, she decided to take his name as her married name. Before she was married, she was called Miss Cynthia Activist. Mrs. Noncooperationist said that she really does like to cooperate and work as a team member, and not as her name suggests.

Here are the first ten words:

  1. Nonspecialist: a person who is not a specialist in any given field.
  2. Accordionist: An accordion is a box shaped musical instrument of hand held bellows. Sometimes called a squeezebox. The person who plays an accordion is an Accordionist.
  3. Journalist: a person who gathers and writes about current events, trends, issues, and people’s viewpoints. A reporter is a type of journalist.
  4. Keyboardist: a person who plays keyboard musical instruments.
  5. Machinist: a person who uses machine tools to make or modify primarily metal parts.
  6. Lyricist: a writer who specializes in song lyrics, usually paid for by a band to write custom songs. A Lyricist is a songwriter.
  7. Agriculturalist: a person who studies the science, art, and business of cultivating soil, producing crops and raising livestock; farming.
  8. Bacteriologist: a person who studies and investigates a group of single-celled microorganisms that are classed as bacteria. There are over 10,000 species of bacteria and new ones are being discovered each day.
  9. Industrialist: a person who is a businessman and whose wealth has been gained from business and industry.

10.Balloonist: A balloon is a type of air-

craft that remains aloft due to its

buoyancy. A balloon travels by

moving with the wind. A Balloonist

knows all about flying balloons.

Rachel raised her hand and said, “ I

would like to be a balloonist part time

and an economist for my career choice.


Here are the second ten “ist” words:


  1. Zoologist: a person who studies animals in their natural habitats and in the laboratory in order to learn as much as possible about animal life.
  2. Vocalist: a person who is a singer and uses her or his voice to produce music.
  3. Alchemist: a person who practices alchemy. Alchemy is an early discipline or practice of combining the elements of chemistry, metallurgy, physics, medicine, astrology, semiotics, mysticism, and art.
  4. Loyalist: a person who remains loyal to the established government, political party, or sovereign (no higher power or supreme lawmaking authority) especially during a war or revolutionary change.
  5. Manicurist: a person who gives manicures, which include fingers and toes. A manicurist is a licensed nail technician who cleans, trips and polishes nails for a living.
  6. Percussionist: a musician who plays percussion instruments such as xylophone, marimba, chimes, cymbals, dulcimer, drums, tubular bells and more.


  1. Floriculturist: a person concerned with horticulture (plants and flowers) and concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens. Also a Floriculturist is interested in the development of plant breeding and creating new varieties of plants.


  1. Landscapist: There are two definitions for Landscapist. One is someone who arranges features such as plants, furniture, and sculptures in the landscape or garden. Another Landscapist is someone who paints landscapes.
  2. Perfectionist: is a person who believes in perfectionism and demands perfection from everyone. In other words, everything has to be perfect or the perfectionist will be displeased.
  3. Receptionist: is a person who is     often the first business contact a person will meet at any organization. A receptionist is a person in the office who is in a support position. They usually work in a waiting area such as a lobby or front office desk and greet visitors, patients, or clients.


And finally here are the final 10:

  1. Saxophonist: is a musician who plays the saxophone.

2.Vacationist: is a person taking a vacation, especially someone who is a tourist, sightseer, or traveler.

3.Urbanologist: is a person who specializes in the problems of cities and urban life.

4.Mineralogist: is a person who specializes and studies the process of mineral origin and formation, classification of minerals and their geographical distribution as well as their utilization.

5.Oceanologist: is a person who studies the sea in all its aspects, including oceanography, geophysical phenomena, undersea exploration, economic and military uses of the sea.

6.Romanticist: a person who has a romantic view of life, one that does not take into consideration science, but rather through music, literature and the visual arts. It is someone who has a romantic attitude or style.

7.Adventurist: a person who looks for   adventure by taking trips, hiking, outdoor adventures, and takes some risks and a person who likes to experiment to make their world less boring.

8.Aeronomist: a person who studies the upper atmosphere, especially regions of ionized gas and realms of other planets, satellites, and comets.

9.Gastroenterologist: a person who is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders in the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.

10.Hypnotherapist: a person who induces hypnotic state in clients to increase motivation or alter behavior patterns for positive results through hypnosis.

Mrs. Noncooperationalist began to think about having to spend $3,031.00 if all of the students won the contest. She would make sure everyone would win if they put the time into the project. She told the students that if you worked at a job and made the minimum wage, which is $8.00 an hour, you would have to work 12.4 hours to make the amount of money which is the prize for this contest. She told them that if they were willing to make this a job, they would win. Instead of running away from her “ist” words promise, she was going to add 10 more words as extra credit words to make her feel better about spending the $3,031.00. All of the students started to groan. She said, “Take it or leave it. But if you take it be prepared to study. It will take some time, and “time is money” where I come from,” she said.


  1. Educationalist: a specialist in the

theory of education

  1. Hematologist: a medical specialist who study diseases and disorders of the blood and blood-forming tissues, such as bone marrow and the spleen.
  2. Ethnomethodologist: a person who uses this method for understanding the social orders people use to make sense of the world through analyzing their accounts and descriptions of their day-to-day experiences.
  3. Musicologist: a person who knows the historical and scientific studies of music and a person who is a constant student of musicology.
  4. Geochronologist: a person who studies geology that describes the past in terms of geologic (history of earth’s time and earth’s history) rather than human time.
  5. Neuropharmacologist: a person who is concerned with drug-induced changes in the functioning cells in the nervous system.
  6. Watercolorist: a painter who paints with watercolors.
  7. Surrealist: an artist who is a member of the movement called surrealism, which began, in the early 1920’s.
  8. Acupuncturist: a person who is qualified or professionally engaged in the practice of acupuncture.
  9. Numerologist: a person who believes

in traditions and in a mystical

relationship between numbers,

physical objects and living things.

You know the ending to this story already.



Re: Teacher Abuse

Someone made a comment under Harry and it really stimulated my thinking about teacher abuse. Here is a post for you and I am ever hopeful that you will respond.

Last year when I gave the final National Exam, my classroom was raided. The two administrative designees  came into my classroom to rip down anything that would give these little children an unfair advantage regarding the upcoming exam. As they began to rip down the children’s beautiful work, the eyes of these children became wide open with terror and they began to cry. More

Harry’s Reply to Teacher You Don’t Like Me Very Much. An earlier post.

Hey Sheila,

This is a great article, it reminds me a lot of my own experiences and the things I saw while I was at school. Look, I really dont understand why some teachers dont give students a chance to be good in class, or do good on a test and most importantly just be a good student.
Coming from my own experiences, I started to like studying and school in general once I found out that I have the potential to be a good student.

I feel that teachers aren’t ready to deal with kids that are hyper. Dude, they are kids, you cant expect them to act like machines. That’s what teachers want these days; they want their students to be submissive robots who follow rules and directions. However, thats not what our world needs today. We need people who are ready to make changes in our society.



Dear Mrs. Clapkin,

My name is Hamid B. I was a student of yours at Calvert Elementary. You might know me better as “Harry”. I just wanted to thank you for all your help when I was in your class. I am now finishing up my Bachelors at UCLA and have also applied to dental school. I just came back from an interview at Harvard; and was thinking to myself that I wouldn’t be here if you didn’t do what you did for me. Although I didn’t change much as a youngster, I did remember everything you taught me later on. Thank for everything. Please let me know if you remember me.

Hamid B.

Hey, Harry,

I just got home and found your wonderful message. Do I remember you?

Absolutely, I DO. I even remember some of the lessons you learned. In teaching them, I learned them all over again. More

Today’s Bits and Pieces

Oh So Sad and True.

Teacher, I came to school on the first day and you smiled at me. I knew it was going to be a good thing. I wanted it to be a good thing. I even prayed about it every night. I said, “God, I am scared to go into that big place. I drive by it every day when we go down our hill. I know it is fun there because I can hear the children laughing; they are playing and having a good time. I pray that I won’t get hurt. I pray that the kids are nice. I pray that my teacher likes me. Thank you for listening. I love you.”

Teacher you had a big conference with my mom and my dad. You told them that I just yell out the answer even if it is not my turn. You told them that I always raise my hand but you did not tell them you never call on me. You always call on certain kids because you think they know the answers. I know the answers, too. Why don’t you call on me?