I ain't writing nothing.

Eighth grade was probably one of my most obnoxious years, likely in large part due to the fact that I had just transferred to a new school and immediately made friends with a bunch of real assholes. I used to get in trouble for stupid stuff all the time, like having a lighter in class for no reason (I didn't smoke), throwing bendy rubber action figures off of a balcony, vandalism, and just being a general disruption in class. The only time during the day when I wasn't an annoying little cretin was in English class. My teacher was a mean, angry old woman who seemed to despise kids, and everybody was terrified of her, including myself.

Mrs. Nancy absolutely hated me, and would consistently write that I was a disruption in class on every single report card. It was total bullshit, because I was scared of her and never made a sound in class. Her class was the only class that I would do all my homework in, because she had a policy of giving detention to everybody who missed an assignment, but I would still always end up with a D in her class. She graded my papers like a spiteful child, and gave me a D on absolutely everything I wrote, despite the fact that teachers before her and teachers after her had told me that I wrote well. She would mark points off for incredibly stupid things, like a person using a contraction in dialogue, or using "too many words." During peer-review sessions, some of my classmates work would strike me as semi-illiterate, but they didn't do nearly as badly as I did. She once even gave me an F on a final draft because she claimed I had written it in some sort of magical uneraseable blue pencil instead of a pen, even though it was completely obvious that it was written in ink.

One time we were reading a play in class, and she had us taking turns standing up and reading parts in front of the class. I had just finished reading a line when she interrupted the performance.

"How absolutely rude!" she said, scowling. She was looking directly at me. Another student later told me that I looked completely baffled, and I was, because I knew I hadn't done anything rude. She accused me of rolling my eyes, and sent me out into the hallway to copy pages from the dictionary for the rest of the class.

One of my asshole friends and I had a study hall directly before her class. We regularly caused disruptions in there and would have to be held after class, usually only for a minute or two of the five minute passing-period between class. On one occasion, we were held longer than five minutes for an extended lecture on being a decent human being, and then our teacher walked us to Mrs. Nancy's class so that we wouldn't need a hall pass or get marked as tardy, which was another thing Mrs. Nancy would have given us detention for.

When she brought us to class, everybody was taking a quiz, which had to be taken in pencil. I asked Mrs. Nancy if I could sharpen my pencil, because the one I had was brand new and thus couldn't be used.

"Absolutely not!" she hissed.

So I just sat there and didn't take my quiz.

"OK, you can sharpen your pencil," she said a few minutes later. "Actually, go out in the hall."

I went out into the hall, and she came out and told me I would have to write "I will remember to always be prepared for class" one hundred times and give them to her before school started the next day. She then let me go sharpen my pencil and take my quiz.

Having done nothing wrong to begin with, I didn't write the sentences. During study hall the next day, the secretary in the office announced over the intercom that I had to go the Mrs. Nancy's class.

"Do you have my sentences?" she asked when I got to her class.

"No," I said.

"Well, stand in front of the class and write them. Now."

"I ain't writing nothing," I said, angry and deliberately trying to inflame her grammar nerve. The class in session burst into laughter, which sent her flying into a rage.

"You think that's funny? You're all staying a minute after class!" she yelled. She looked me up and down with a disgusted look on her face. "You just stand there, then."

She walked to the back of the class where her desk was, and I sat down on the floor.

"I said stand!" she yelled.

"No, I think I'd rather sit," I said. The class laughed again.

"OK, that's two minutes after class! Paul, come with me!" she said, walking out into the hall. I followed her, and she got very close to my face.

"I don't know what you think you're doing. Are you trying to impress your friends?"

"No, I just didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not going to write those sentences."

"I have never seen such a display of insubordination!"

She brought me back into class, where I sat back down on the floor, and went to her desk and filled out a disciplinary referral. When she was finished, she gave it to me and sent me to the office.

When I got to the office, I gave them the referral, and then waited until the vice principal was ready to talk to me. When he called me into his office, I explained to him exactly what had happened and why I had behaved like that in her class. I was pretty confident I was going to get detention or Saturday school, which I was used to at the time. Instead, he told me to write the sentences, not so much as punishment for my original non-crime, but as punishment for making everyone laugh at the mean old lady.

By the end of high school, she was the head librarian instead of a teacher, but she continued to be a hateful old lady.


Doug said...

She never scared me. I considered her to be more of a joke. There was a different english teacher that scared the hell out of me years ago. I'd like to give both of these bitches a piece of my mind.

Liz said...

i had an english teacher that said to me, "one day, i hope you have a little girl just like you." it wasn't a compliment.