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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Teacher from the Yellow and Blue Lagoon

When I was in elementary school, I had very memorable teachers. Mrs. Bott taught me two different years: first grade and then again in third. She was loud and funny and got us excited when there was something new to learn. Mr. Moyle was my first experience with favoritism. Mrs. Smith turned my interest to theater and drama, something I would pursue through high school. Mrs. Colby was one of the most popular teachers, but for me, I'll always remember the time she went around the table during our after-school group meeting, belittling each and every one of us. She called me a liar. I wasn't. Mrs. Maske was the mean one, the teacher that glared and yelled and was just generally disappointed in our behavior. In fact, one of her glares stopped my hiccups cold. True story.

With hindsight working for me, I realized Mrs. Maske was one of the better teachers, where I felt like I really learned best in her class. But at the time, all we talked about was how mean she could be. She was very strict and rarely seemed to smile. Misbehavior was speedily and harshly punished, including time spent in the hallway (where the principal would see you and come over to discuss your mistakes) or missing out on recess. Mrs. Maske taught science to my fifth grade class and we were always plotting something to "get back" at her. Those plots fell through or we completely chickened out. Then came the day when I was continually patted on the back for the best executed prank of the year.

Since science was taught at the very end of the day, it was a time when we were most antsy, especially during good weather. Punishments abounded. My plan formed early one afternoon. We quickly organized, spreading the word during after-lunch recess and reminders whispered on our way into the classroom. Mrs. Maske would make her entrance later, after everyone was seated. My clever plan was to have everyone in the class do something really annoying, all at the same time so just one person wouldn't get in trouble. Kinda like everyone dropping their pencil but much, much grander. Instead of clattering writing instruments, we all sat with our hands on our desks, twiddling our thumbs! Genius, I tell you! Her head would explode with frustration at our antics! This was going to be awesome...

Moments before her arrival, everyone was in on the plan, even the kids that never did anything out of line. Thumbs twiddling like the windmills of freedom of expression.

Mrs Maske walked in the door and to the front of the room. The room was silent, except for the daring movements of our posable digits. Her bugged eyes swept the room as she picked up the chalk, preparing to begin the lesson outline on the board. The chalk faltered mid-word.

"I just can't do this," Mrs. Maske declared, turning to face her new oppressors.

We smiled in triumph, snickers breaking out as we anticipated the rant of anger that would be unleashed.

"You all are so quiet and well behaved!" She continued. "I can't let such good attitudes go unrewarded. Instead of class, you can go out to the playground."

Jaws dropped and thumbs halted. She was giving us...an extra recess? Sunshine and fresh air instead of lessons on plant cell division? And she wasn't...angry? Chairs scraped on worn linoleum and shoes scurried for the door before the teacher could realize her mistake.

What I thought would be an eyeball-smoking scene of naughty kids, ended up looking like smiling faces, hands quietly folded on desks, eagerly awaiting new knowledge and an improved future. She never even noticed the thumbs.

Tell me about one of your memorable teachers!


Kristina P. said...

I have horrible long term memory. When people share stories like this I always feel so dumb because I remember very little about my teachers at all. In any school!

Anonymous said...

What a great post!! And it definitely took me down memory lane.

Unfortunately, my favs in elem. school are due to me being shallow. 5th grade, Mrs. Williamson. I sat close to the door and every time she let me go open the door when someone knocked. Now you may think that this was silly and petty, but I am a nosey person and wanted to know!!
Also, she would always ask me to dust the erasers. I seriously loved her for those tasks.
I also loved my HS English teacher, Mrs. Hall. She definitely got me ready for my college years. She didn't let anything slide. And while I hated it at the time, I was super prepared during my English college classes.

Odie Langley said...

I guess mine would have to be Ms. Jesse Corbitt. She taught the 8th grade and her room was in the basement next to the library. One of her eyes was cocked I guess from birth and everyone sweared she had the best vision of all the teachers and could sniff out chewing gum no matter where you were in the room. She was also noted for being aggrressive and difficult. I never really had a problem with her personally. In 1975, about 10 years after graduating I was working and planning a vacation for the upcoming week. I was a part time locksmith which I did more for fun than money. That weekend someone broke into her apartment and murdered Ms. Corbitt. I spent the next week installing locks all over town. No vacation for me.

Jessica G. said...

Another favorite was a college professor. I loved her so much that I actually named my first child after her.

elesa said...

That is so cute. what a group of rebellious kids!

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