People sometimes think I’m a little strange and – well, I’ll neither confirm nor deny it. But, if I am, I think I have a pretty good idea why. My teachers. Not all of them, but enough. It’s a wonder I’m sane at all considering the odd behavior of some of them.
I’ll describe a few – without names of course. See? I can a be nice guy.
Grade school. One of my teachers was a particularly grouchy lady, who made a habit of not paying attention to much of anything. She continually gave us erroneous facts and information and “corrected” our supposed mistakes. Then, she’d get really cranky when anyone (me) pointed it out. A quick example: I had to write a report on a family summer activity, and I chose our vacation to Missouri. In my report, I mentioned several towns we’d visited, including Flat River and Zalma. When my graded report was returned, both of those towns were circled in red with a note that said Zalma was spelled with an ‘e’ on the end and it was the Platte River, not Flat River. However, had she actually read the report, she would have noticed that Flat River was indeed a town and not a river. As for the spelling of Zalma, a quick check of a map would have told her it was correct. (My parents helped set her straight). This scenario was repeated throughout the year, with me, as well as other students.
Then, there was the teacher who had severe anger issues. The slightest little thing would set him off. His face would turn beet-red, he’d yell and cuss at us, and throw things. A couple of years after I was in his class, he finally lost it and threw a javelin through a kid’s neck. For some reason, they didn’t let him teach after that.
Another of my teachers used to spend more time in the Kindergarten class and the teacher’s lounge than in his own classroom. It seems he was rather fond of the Kindergarten teacher and his wife wouldn’t let him bring her home. To be fair, that only lasted a couple of years – until the divorce.
While these may seem a bit odd, they weren’t the worst. That distinction belongs to another grade school teacher, a woman we called Mrs. Wacky Wafer. Now, before you start thinking we were being disrespectful or rude, let me just say we had a good reason for giving her that name. The very old lady, who should have retired long before I reached her class, was – well, eccentric. (That does sound better than saying she was crazy, doesn’t it?) She routinely forgot our names, and her name, assigned us the same homework two or more days in a row, and sometimes even forgot which classroom was ours after recess. One day, shortly after lunch, she announced that she had to go talk with the principal for a few minutes – and never came back!
The great part was it usually was easy to convince her that we hadn’t had recess yet. In fact, it was pretty simple to convince her of just about anything. And those times when she’d re-assign us the previous day’s homework - I just turned in the same paper again! Once, my grade even improved!
After writing this, I’m wondering how I managed to get any education in grade school. And, now that I think about it, I’ve decided that I’m not the least bit strange after all. Just a normal guy. And, in light of some of the teachers I had, that is definitely strange.