9/12/2006

Teacher Teach Me

In Grade 5 I had a teacher I didn’t particularly like. She frequently made us write out lines for the most minor of infractions - whispering, laughing, plotting her death - some people are so sensitive. Being forced to write out I will not think of ways to kill the teacher 500 times does not stop the plotting.

The assignment of doing lines also had an unintended effect on poor teacher. Several angry parents descended on the school one morning barking about the lack of actual teaching going on, unnecessary hand strain and the waste of good paper. The teacher called us all babies when she got back to class after lunch. This thrilled me because we'd won this round without even trying.

My oldest sister is a teacher and started out by doing substitute teaching or as we called it, supply teaching. She’s got some stories to tell as I’m sure all teachers do.

What little I know about my sister's teaching style is that she seems fair if a bit stern. I know this because one afternoon when teacher didn’t show up for the afternoon session, my sister was called into action.

Imagine the look on my face at seeing my sister walk into my classroom when I’d just seen her at home for lunch. How out of context can you get?

She introduced herself to the class, went over the lesson plan, picked up the chalk and wrote some instructions on the blackboard assigning us some work.

A few of the other kids from my neighborhood tried their best to get me into trouble by poking at me and whispering to me. I kept my head down. Imagine the fallout of having to be disciplined by a teacher who’s also your sister? None for me thanks.

Finally, one girl could stand it no longer. Miss? Miss? Is it true that you’re Dale’s sister? She giggled as did a few of her minions. My sister looked at her and said You don’t need to concern yourself with anything other than the work I just gave you. If there’s anything else you’d like to discuss, we can do it after school today. Overall, I'd say that worked pretty well.

I never had her as a teacher after that day and I never looked at her in quite the same way again.

39 comments:

Holly said...

As a former high school teacher who also started out by substituting, I love this story.

I think I also love your sister.

I'm glad you were smart enough not to act up in her class.

Gretta James said...

You did good that's a tough situation.

My dad was a uni lecturer and it just so happened that my ex boyfriend ended up in one of his classes. This was probably the main reason why he became my ex boyfriend. haha it wasn't a bad thing in the end.

Gretta.

mellowlee said...

Wow, your sister is awesome!

Ben Heller said...

What a cool sister. She handled a potentially tricky situation brilliantly.

Old Lady said...

Brilliant!

I remember having to write something 100 times- I strapped 4 pens together and whipped that sucker out!

Angela said...

That must have felt so weird!
Your sister rocks.

sKincarver said...

Hopefully you weren't hot for teacher.

wonderturtle said...

Right on, sister!

And teachers should not give writing as a punishment. What better way to train students to think of writing as a bad thing that you do not want to do?!

Dale said...

She's one of the most organized people on the planet Holly. I'm just smart enough to not mess with her.

It all works out the way it's meant to I guess Gretta. That must have been strange for all of you.

She's definitely something else MellowLee. I visited her this summer on my tour of the Maritimes and she's still the same no nonsense kind of woman.

I never thought of her as cool so much as someone I didn't want to piss off Ben but maybe you're right.

Why couldn't I have been in your class O.L.? I could have learned from you! At least I am now.

It was very weird Angela but then, so am I.

Thanks for really helping to elevate the comments Skincarver. If she finds out you said that, she might be the one carving your skin for you. Bastard! Haha.

Excellent point WT. The point should never really be dissuading someone from learning should it?

Tanya Espanya said...

This isn't the nun sister is it?

Dale said...

Nope, the teacher is #1 on the roster, the nun #3.

X. Dell said...

Did they have corporal punishment at Canadian schools at that time? If so, that might have been rather interesting.

I'm kinda curious, though, what she said about that day (if anything) the next time you saw her.

n.v. said...

Dale, what's the age gap between you two?

Mob said...

What a cool sister.

If I had siblings, she'd probably have made me stand with my nose in a circle on the blackboard for some kind of trumped up charge.

jin said...

I'm typing:
That was a very sweet thing for her to do!

I'm really:
LMAO @ skincarvers comment!!!

Dale said...

I think there may have been a casual remark about the character of the girl because she lived just a few doors away and was a smartass to begin with but I don't remember much else about it X. Dell

NV - making me think! It's a 12 or 13 year gap. I didn't feel I knew my older siblings very well until I grew up because of the age difference.

I guess she couldn't do much else but put the squawker in her place or all hell might have broken loose. She has a tone that can make you sit up straight pretty quick Mob. I love trumped up charges. But that punishment? Is that what you used to have to do?

I know Jin - bastard! It was pretty funny.

gizmorox said...

I had teachers like your line giving one and you really don't learn a damn thing except how to hate them, do you?

Your sister's approach sounds far more sensible.

Dale said...

Hi Giz, she's exceedingly sensible. Many of our teachers were complete nutcases and I'm surprised any of us survived.

shroom-monkey said...

my father was a teacher in my elementary school, every day I just wanted to die. My father was an artist and just a tad bit on the strange side. He came in everyday with his big Mexican afro and his odd ball sense of style. He sang through the halls and when excited jumped on the desks. All the kids thought he was great and I was embarassed beyond belief..

Sandra said...

I was a supply teacher for eight years over a three month actual time period one hundreds years ago. I had been taking over the little kids classes when suddenly I was put into a grade eight substitution.

We had the opening ceremonies, remember the anthem and the prayer, well the music came on and I started singing it (albeit reluctantly) and then I remembered the room is full of 13 year olds and they are not singing. What was I thinking? Their little brothers and sisters in grade one sing their little hearts out- I forgot I was now in the land of cool and singing the anthem was not part of that particular culture. As I had started I had no choice but to sing a solo- IT WAS AWFUL- but I had no trouble controlling that class for the rest of the day. I guess they figured that anyone that brave to sing with such a horrible voice was not someone to mess with.

Dale said...

Poor Mr. Holland's Shroom-Monkey. That would be mortifying beyond belief. I feel for you and now understand a full 1/3 of your writing.

Sandra, I'm so glad you weren't my math teacher. That's such a funny and awful story! Good going though, you changed lives that day as you do now.

Beth said...

My fifth grade science teacher lived next door to us, with her daughter and her family. We didn't know she was a drunk on the wagon. She went on a Christmas cruise, got rip-roarin' drunk, came home, got hot, stripped, and danced all around the front yard. Naked. And then, surprisingly, she was gone once Christmas break was over.

A. Estella Sassypants said...

Whahahah! My mother can't imagine me as a teacher...especially when I tell her the things I say to my students in class to shut them up. Good times. That's why most of us become teachers--to be badasses and scare people. ;)

blog Portland said...

I had an equally awful teacher in the 3rd grade, Mrs. Splittgerber, who made me copy pages from the dictionary, accents and all. I thought I was really cool when I nicknamed her SpitBurger and it stuck.

Coaster Punchman said...

My hat goes off to your sister. I would be terrified to substitute as a crossing guard let alone a teacher. I've already had enough spitballs thrown at me in my life, and that's just counting family mealtimes.

KLee said...

As a former substitute teacher, and a current kindergarten teacher, i applaud your sister's method. If nothing else, she established that she was the one firmly in charge of the class, not the kids, and she did it without having to resort to "insult" tactics like threatening or assigning lines.

When I was small, the religious school I went to still had corporal punishment, and I remember, in detail, the day my horrid 6th grade math teacher showed us the "Board". The "Board" was a paddle with holes drilled into it, and it was used to punish the unruly. Apparently, it also hurt like holy hellfire. those kids who can't resist a challenge met the "Board" fairly soon afterward, and the rest of us just seethed in silence. Not a good way to inspire learning.

Bre said...

as a former HS teacher who had to teach her sister's friends, I feel for your sister.

Bluez628 said...

I didn't know my brother real well growing up either. He is seven years older than me and I always felt like he was a nerd.

Now I know him well and he's still a nerd but at least he doesn't give me indian sunburns on my wrists anymore or tickle me. He just tortures his wife now with his Henny Youngman type jokes.

Dale said...

Whoa, excellent story Beth, you guys must have talked about that one for a while!

If only I'd had teachers like you Andi, keep me scared and working hard instead of being all blase the whole time.

Is there anything quite so satisfying as spitting out a nickname for someone like that and having it stick BP? I've done it a couple of times at work but only to deserving sorts.

It's amazing you can eat at all Prophet Punchman with some of the stuff I'm sure you endured. The little scene from your last family meal put me off food (until the next mealtime).

Those were some pretty horrifying times Klee. Several of our teachers were quite violent and used yardsticks like the Board you mentioned and other items. I had a healthy amount of fear in me for a while there.

It must have been so strange for you too then Bre. I never really asked my sister how it felt to have me sitting there. I think she's got so much under her belt now that it's a fleeting memory.

Henny Youngman jokes Bluez? He is a torturing nerd! :-) I've got a slew of sibs that took me a while to get to know.

Mob said...

Was I punished with a nose in a circle on the blackboard?

Honestly no, I was a pretty good kid until much later in life.

I seem to recall the punishment from some sitcom, possibly something in the Andy Griffith era.

Chancelucky said...

Dale,
I taught many years ago and my daughter wanted to get out of school on take your daughter to work day. Somehow she didn't want to do it when I was working for the famous movie producer, but she was happy to get out of school by following me to school one day.

Anyway, my classes were extraordinarily calm and pretending to work hard that day. It was a nice feeling.

It sounds like your sister handled the situation really well. I take it she's still teaching, but you're writing lines still too but doing it on the internet.

Dale said...

It's a strange punishment Mob, no doubt thought up by the subversive Aunt Bee.

She's still teaching high school and enjoying it CL. Your daughter sounds like you, a smart cookie.

Sometimes it feels a little like penance, this writing thing but other times, it just makes me happy. Awwwwwwww.

lulu said...

I have never substitute taught and I hope I never have to. It is bad enough covering a classroom when I know the kids; I can't imagine having to walk into a room cold.

Your sister sounds great. I bet she would have had no problem taking you down had you decided to act up.

larry h. said...

Never had that weird moment where my friends' relatives or my relative were teaching a class with me inside of it. I do remember being forced to write a 500 word essay about some stupid thing I did. The one time I did had an encounter with folk's relatives was the time our class went for immunization injections at the nearby clinic and the nurse administering the injections turned out to be the older sister of this girl that every guy was hitting on in the classroom. Let's just say most of the guys went home with sore arms and a great incentive to NOT become junkies.

ziggystardust73 said...

I was a teacher once. That job sucks balls.

Tumuli said...

What a way to defuse a potentially embarassing situation! But your sister seems like a wonderful teacher, though -- and a sensitive sibling.

Dale said...

I'm pretty sure she would have done a smack down on me faster than anyone Lulu. I'm still a bit scared of her.

That's pretty funny Larry and a different kind of line altogether!

And you still left Ziggy?

I think she's a pretty good teacher too Tumuli although sensitive is not something I would describe her as generally.

n.v. said...

There are 15 years between my younger bro and I. I know him and care for him more than I do for my older brother -- he and I are 16 months apart.

Dale said...

Strange isn't it? My biggest surprise with posting this vignette n.v. was that I always sort of thought of my sis as very stern and a little bitchy. I suppose she still is but she knew what she was doing even starting out and maybe I'm a little envious that it took me longer to grow that type of confidence.