Posts Tagged ‘Teachers’

I have always wanted to write.  I realized there is a discipline in writing novels that I don’t have.  I am also dyslexic, in my younger days I went at least twice a week to the children’s hospital to get the issue ‘corrected’  while I can see my letters and numbers straight I don’t believe one ever becomes un-dyslexic so writing is that much more of a challenge, but of course not impossible.

 I’ve made many attempts to sit and write, but always, after a few pages the words fall flat, all the character’s sounded the same, they all sounded like me.  If I, the writer feel they are flat, why would anybody want to read them?  Despite everything there was/is always the desire, that belief that if only I could find the right medium, the right angle then I would be able to write.

In high school I wrote two papers that I was really proud of.  One was a letter to my mother.  We had a substitute teacher who had no control of the class. In my letter I wrote about the chaos that was unfolding around me.  My mother told me that in reading my words she felt like she was there with me. Of course that is what she is supposed to say, she is after all, my mother.  But a year or so later I heard her talking to a friend about that letter and how, while she was reading it she felt she was there with me.  Those comments have always stayed with me, fueling the fire to write.

In high school I had a very strict English teacher Mrs. George.  She was only really interested in the ‘A’ students.  Each year she would take a handful of students to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.  Only the best of the best students got to go.  Mrs. George always had her nose in the air, her half glasses balanced on the tip of that nose. If you were one of her favorites you could do no wrong.  And how those ‘A’ students loved her.  If however you were part of the majority and simply didn’t measure up to her strict standards then she only spoke to you if she absolutely had too and then she would not talk to you, she would talk down to you.   I was nowhere close to an ‘A’ student and therefore I was just an annoying blip on her radar that she had to deal with every once in awhile because it was her job.

My big assignment for Mrs. George was to write a report on Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to write an acceptable report for Ms. George. Knowing I was going to fail I decided to fail with style, I wrote the entire report in the vernacular of Tom Joad.  A few days later she handed us back our reports.  She walked up and down the aisle of desks and placed the reports on the respective desks, making comments on each one, both good and bad.  She stood in front of my desk for a moment and did not hand me back my report.  Instead she simply said, ‘see me after class’ I heard my friends snicker.  Sure most of them failed the paper.  I however, obviously failed in epic style.   She ended up telling me that she never had anyone try to write a report the way I did. She handed me my paper and there on the top was an ‘A+’ she congratulated me, she went as far to say that she never thought I would pass.  Mrs. George told me that by far it was the most entertaining report she had ever read. I have never forgotten those words despite the fact that the next day I was once again just an annoying blip on her radar.

Yet, I never understood that you can write something aside from a novel.  For me it was always a novel or nothing.  While the desire to write never went away I couldn’t seem to learn the lesson Mrs. George and my Mother was trying to communicate to me. 

Having reached my mid forties I took a look back at my life and realized I have experiences, experiences I can write about.  I can write about the world around me as it is happening just like that letter to my mother all those years ago.  I could write about my past experiences just as I wrote about the dust bowl through the eyes of Tom Joad.  Best of all I don’t have to write a book, I don’t even have to write short stories, character development is easy because I am the character.   The internet makes it possible to write as I feel when I feel, I don’t have to rely on anyone else to ‘get it out there’ I could blog!

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Plinky asks, ‘What was the worst teacher you ever had and why?’

Easy, Mrs. Wilson 1st grade, the woman was a bitch!  If anyone stept out of line, and by stepped out of line I mean, sneezed at the wrong time, the whole class stayed after school.  The only time the entire class did not have detention was the day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  She was kind enough to let us go home and watch that on the news. 

If you got new shoes she would make you parade around the room and sing the song, ‘New shoes, new shoes, happy goody new shoes’  Whenever anybody got new shoes we would make sure to scuff them up before we got to class.

My brother had her as a teacher, he is three years older than me.  My cousin Erwin who is almost 20 yrs older than me also had Mrs. Wilson as his grade one teacher, and he told me she was in her 60’s when he was in her class, and yes she was just as bad.

Second worst teacher was (Rich I know you know who this one is) Mrs. Vogel.  She was a french teacher who couldn’t speak french.  I figured out how to pass her class I used a purple pen.  The only other way was, (if you are a guy) to wear tight purple pants. In my final year of highschool I also found out she liked jade, (the gem stone) I learned this by listening into her conversations with the girls about shopping.  So at one point I mentioned jade was my birthstone, (it really is the Opal) but she believed me and when it came time for the final exam I passed and all I had to do was describe what was going on in a picture she showed me.  It was a picture of a boy playing with a ball,  My description, “le garcon, avec un ball” I passed.  It so happened Richard was next in line.  While he was waiting outside the classroom she told him not to bother as she wasn’t going to pass him anyway.  Richard speaks more french than I do, (well he went to french immersion for a year so I figure he must, although I’ve never heard him speak french).

Mrs Vogel did once tell me to write lines for talking in class.  I had to write “I will not talk in class” 500 times and I had to have the lines on her desk the next morning.  I didn’t do it, when I went to her class she told me I had to now write 1000 lines.  I explained to her that if I didn’t write 500 lines what would make her think I would write 1000 lines?  I didn’t hear anything about it after that.

So Mrs Wilson was the worst because I believe she scarred me for life and to this day I can’t have a pair of shoes for an hour without somehow getting a smudge or something on them.  Mrs Vogel second in line cause she was just one of those pathetic teachers who was clearly wasting her time waiting for her retirement.

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