Thursday, January 13, 2011

Your Tributes (part two)

Here's an entirely delightful story from frequent contributor Jarod.

I really cannot remember her name for the life of me, but she was wretched. She loved to focus on unimportant failures while ignoring relevant successes...who cares that you aced the math test, your math book cover is not within guide-lines, DEMERIT!! Her mouth was always puckered up, so I thought of her as Mrs. Pickleface (which seemed brilliant back in 1981).

Anyway, we didn't get along, and she HATED my messy desk (granted, it was very messy, but my classwork was top-notch...well as much as any 3rd grader's can be). She started sending notes home, and I, being the dutiful son, would fake my mom's signature and give it back to her. Most of the way through the year, I missed a day of class for a family ski trip, and the teacher sent a note home. This one, I actually had my mom see and sign, since she was the one who kept us out of class. The next day, Mrs. Pickleface went nuts about the note and accused me of forging the signature. She got so fired up that she called my mom that night and told her about the note and my alleged forging. My mom let her have it good! She didn't yell, but she got that 'serious mom tone' in her voice and let the teacher know, in no uncertain terms, that she didn't appreciate such a negative attitude and environment from an authority figure in her son's school blah, blah, blah. Luckilly, there wasn't too much of the year left and I managed to squeak by with no further incidents.

Years later, when I was in my 20's, I came clean and told my mom the truth (she would always mention how much she hated my third grade teacher for accusing her perfect son of forgery). She laughed and laughed, which was a good thing. It seems like no matter how old we get, some things can still bring us right back to feeling like we are eight years old again, hoping our mom doesn't get angry at us.

That was a story worthy of both Huck Finn and a secret agent.

Now, from DQ Visual Basic Advisor Garret Rempel, another entertaining tale.

I did not have the 'mean' teacher that you describe, none of my teachers were ever particularly mean... simply derranged. I have had many good teachers, and a few absolutely excellent ones. These are not them. This is the cast of my seventh grade eduction.

Before I describe the cast in detail, I will say that the students of my seventh grade were normal junior high students. Sometimes they could cause a ruckus, but never before this particular year, nor after, would our cast of teachers be this... unique.

French: Madame B(ubbly)
The most normal of the teachers in this grade, Madame B was... effervescent. Bubbly and upbeat beyond any possible description, Madame B was simply the most pleasant teacher you would ever meet. And I apologize to her, because I know she tried to teach us some infinitesimal amount of the French language, but it was not to be. Assignments were done with an English-French dictionary in hand. As were tests... in addition to Madame B writing the actual test answers on the blackboard as we were taking it. The average assignment and test score for the entire class on any given test was well over 100% due to all the bonus marks and 'free' marks given. (I once had a test where I achieved 140%). Madame B loved the French language... but I am afraid that barely a single word was successfully imparted to any one of us.

Band: Mrs. L(oud)
Mrs. L was also a normal teacher, and a very nice person, who shouted at least four hours a day (hours of classes she taught per day). I blame the brass section (being a woodwind player), but by three weeks in to the new school year Mrs. L had destroyed her voice and was unable to do more than whisper from then on. Shortly after this she was forced to use a microphone in order to be heard, and proceeded to shout (amplified) for the remainder of the year sounding like an amphibian had taken up permanent residence in her throat.

Science/Math: Mrs. C(hainsmoker)
Mrs. C suffered from anorexia and chainsmoked every moment she was not physically teaching. Every day she consumed a single diet sprite as her only calories before dinner, and had a rasp that could draw blood from across the room. She managed to stay for close to two months before taking extended leave due to illness, and we never saw her again for more than a week at a time every couple of months for the remainder of the year.

Gym: Mr. H(eart Attack)
Mr. H was a severly out of shape, alcoholic father of four who one day came to school missing his front upper teeth, having had them knocked out by his pre-school aged (adopted) son. He tended to yell and insult members of the class who were less physically adept while having a difficult time maintaining equilibrium himself. One day during class (not mine, but another grade) he suffered a severe heart attack and only managed to survive due to the quick actions of one student who performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. The student was a hero, though there were many whispers that they wished he had saved someone else.

Social Studies: Miss M(anic)
Miss M operated like an army drill instructor.. and had the haircut to match. Every student had to be perfectly quiet, conform to specific forms of address, have all pens and paper perfectly lined up on their desk at all times, and speak in unison to her when she greeted the class (Good morning Miss M). Miss M, though, had a softer side. She had a dozen potted plants and twice as many stuffed animals in the classroom, each with its own name and personality (yes, plants too...). A classmate of mine once was unfortunate enough to accidently displace one particular stuffed bear. He was then made to stand in front of the class, address the bear, apologize, and kiss it better. Miss M also happened to be a lesbian, which was never addressed or brought up in class, but was suspected by everyone when one student discovered a recent edition of Playboy magazine in amongst her papers in her desk while snooping (bad student!). After we had gone on to high school, it was revealed that Miss M had petitioned the school board to allow her to reveal her sexual orientation and use it as a discussion and education point for her class. Her petition was denied.

English: Mr. A(ngry Jazz Man)
Mr. A was unique. He was a tempermental jazz musician who spent most nights playing in bars until the wee hours of the morning. In class, he was perpetually tired. Resembling a cross between ZZTop and Hagrid (from Harry Potter) but a little more overweight, he shunned both shoes and socks in the classroom and used a wheelchair for his desk chair (although could walk without assistance). Mr. A also spent an entire winter without heat in his home (Canadian prairies = cold!) because he never bothered to call furnace repair, which also resulted in him having no water due to burst pipes and thus he showered inconsistently.

In addition to this, Mr. A had a notorious habit for including inane and non-sensical questions in tests. The last question on a test might be "Write the sentance that was on the board during the first 5 minutes of class." This sentence, of course, had been erased (he insisted that everyone read through the entire test before beginning and would often play tricks like this). Another test question was, "Mr. A is your favourite teacher: True or True?" I managed to get this one wrong. Being a stickler for honesty, I refused to lie and penciled in a new answer: "False". This was marked incorrect and managed to spark off a rather entertaining (though embarrasing to me at the time) battle between my mother and Mr. A.

It was a fun year.

That story could be the basis for a long-running series of young teenager books.

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