He wasn’t born in Amsterdam, he never lived in Amsterdam and today is not his birthday, but I want to use today’s post to thank long-time FMCC professor, Jonas Kover for being such an incredibly good educator for so many years to so many students. A letter to the editor he wrote appeared in the Amsterdam newspaper just recently in which he explained he was leaving his position at the school and wanted to thank everyone for making his career there such a memorable one.
I took his American History class in 1973. It was the best class I ever took in my life. His teaching style was masterful. He explained American History with a comprehensive wonderfully detailed, wonderfully told series of stories that drew you into the subject matter like the smell of chocolate draws a child into a candy store. He was such a compelling, well prepared lecturer that you didn’t realize just how much history you were learning. And he made sure you knew and he knew you were actually learning stuff with very challenging unannounced surprise tests he called “Shotguns.” It was impossible to score well on these tests unless you paid close attention in class and carefully took and studied your notes. But because Kover made the subject matter so compelling and so relevant, you wanted to listen closely and you wanted to remember everything he said.
I repeat, I took this guy’s class in 1973, four decades ago. But I know students who had him just a few semesters ago who will agree with everything I’ve written above. Despite a tough bout with cancer along the way, Kover experienced no burnout. His classroom remains a model for what teaching should be.
I’ve always felt FMCC missed out on a wonderful recruiting and revenue generating opportunity by not sponsoring “Evening’s of American History with Jonas Kover” events in area school auditoriums. I know there are hundreds of current and former Amsterdam residents who also had the opportunity to take a Kover-taught course who join me in expressing gratitude for his service and wishing him well in the next phase of his life.