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!