Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sass Writes: Teacher Disappointment

I am writing today's post in response to one of Mama Kat's writing prompts:  

But teachers know everything!! Write about a time a teacher disappointed you.

Mama’s Losin’ It
When I was about fifteen, I had a best friend by the name of, well,  we'll call her Carrie.  Unfortunately, Carrie had a fatal flaw - she was desperate to be popular.  No doubt, I wanted to be popular, too, but had no idea how to get there.  Frankly, neither did Carrie, but she wasn't above trying all kinds of deviousness, unbenownst to me.  (Later, of course, it was obvious - I only had to become a fabulous athlete.  Ha-ha.)

I was a pretty good student - particularly in language-based subjects, like History and English.  And, like all high schools, I suppose, there are a good number of folks willing to cheat their way through.  I had dabbled in cheating in eighth grade, paid the price dearly, and was cured of it forever.  But one girl, Darla, so full of self-doubt, despite that she was perfectly intelligent, continually cheated off me in English.  And the teacher seemed oblivious.  I tried everything I could, short of calling her out in the middle of class, but she would devise ways to peer over my shoulder and copy, copy, copy.  It was driving me nuts.

I was a country kid, so I was rarely in town, but one night I planned a sleep-over with Carrie.  She and I went for a walk and happened to walk past the teacher's house.  Generally, I liked this teacher a lot and felt like we had a good rapport.  So, Carrie and I went to the door.  She invited us in.  I explained the problem.  She agreed to keep a closer eye on the girl.  I knew Darla would be suspicious if the teacher moved her, so I begged her not to do that.

Of course, the next day - the first thing the teacher did was ask Darla to change desks.  No one else was moved.  I was crushed.  I knew Darla would know something was up.  And that day swiftly took another tack.  I got a note, telling me that a group of girls would be waiting for me after school.  I was shaken and had no idea what to do.

At the time, I was working during one of my study halls in the superintendent's office.  He had given me a letter to type, and I was so shook up, I made several mistakes.  He took me aside to discuss the letter, and I burst into tears.  He was such a kind man, and was taken aback by my overreaction to his gentle criticism.  I explained what was actually going on in my pitiful adolescent life, and he immediately brought Darla into the office.  It was wonderful, being able to talk this out and explain to Darla that I liked her, but felt she was up to the task without any help from me.  And, bless her heart, she actually took it well.  I think about this now - how hard it was for her to be called into the office and confronted with this, but she was great.  

Then, Darla explained her side of that day: that Carrie had told everyone what I'd done, by going to the teacher.  It was Carrie's gambit to get an 'in' with the popular girls.  She, apparently, decided that betraying me was worth it.  Needless to say, our friendship was over.  Sadly, it wasn't the last time she did something devious and self-serving.  Unfortunately, her life seemed marked by such acts.

And, surprisingly enough, Darla and I became good friends.  She was even in my wedding, many years ago.  

While this seems little about that teacher, Mama Kat's prompt did prompt this old memory.  I actually have great admiration for most of my teachers, both at the time and in retrospect.  After college, I joined their ranks.



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