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Monday, March 19, 2012

Authority Figures: Teacher, Mrs. C

     “Get out your English books and notebooks, Class. Stand and prepare to move to Mrs. C’s room.”  Now very familiar orders from our Sixth Grade teacher, though not necessarily ones that brought a smile to my face. The personality of our English teacher was so different from Miss A and less kid-friendly, that I did not enjoy that hour. At least, our teacher no longer had to remind us to behave, the implication being that we would get double-trouble if we did not reflect her well-behaved class when in Mrs. C’s room.  Single file we quietly marched from one door into the next, trying hard not to look at our friends just a foot from us in the other line. They would have English in our room, from Miss A. To glance up at one of the other kids, most assuredly, would result in a giggle or two and a checkmark after our name on the board. Oh, a giggle isn’t all that bad, but it never stopped with one kid or one giggle, if you know what I mean. The teachers knew what they were doing insisting that we not start anything!

     “Today, Children, we are going to begin with reading out loud. Turn to page 58 in your books, please.” Ugh and gag me with a spoon. I just hate to stand up and read with everyone listening. My stomach tightened as the first boy stood by his desk and started reading.

     “When Farmer Bob left for the barn that morning… .” I had no idea what he read as I was trying to figure out when my own turn would come.

     “Can anyone tell me which word Jonny missed?” Good grief, did she really expect us to answer her and embarrass our friend? “No one knows? Well, it was the third word in the second line. He left that word out.” Yeah, well, if he left it out and no one noticed, maybe the word was not all that important anyway, right? The stress was, definitely, giving me a bad attitude towards this exercise.

     “Sojourner, please, stand and continue the reading.” The tight ball in the pit of my stomach instantaneously expanded to fill every bit of this now-empty sack, which felt like it was on fire. At least, Jonny’s mistake had brought my attention to the place where I should continue to read.

     “When Farmer Bob had been milking the cows for… ,”

     “Stop! Sojourner, read that sentence again.” I reckoned it was too much to hope that she’d been distracted and hadn’t heard me read it the first time?

     “When Farmer Bob had been milking the cows for about an hour, his wife came to tell him that she’d just been called to go to the church to… ,” I read with even less confidence, my face flushing red hot.

     “Stop! Read that sentence again, please. Class, listen to how Sojourner says the word b e e n.” Mrs. C instructed the kids while looking straight at me. I whipped through the mental phonics cards as fast as I could, beads of perspiration popping out on my forehead and upper lip. What could I be doing wrong? “Sojourner, we’re waiting. Repeat, please.” Shuffling my feet and choking back tears of embarrassment, I tried to speak.

     “When Farmer Bob had been milking the cows for about an hour, his wife came to tell him that she’d just been called to go to the church to help set up for the wedding.” I stopped reading and figured no one really cared that the pastor had called her because Mrs. Jones had taken sick and they needed a substitute that morning.

     “Now, Class, who noticed the way Sojourner said the word, b e e n?” To my great horror, all of those 11-year-old kids threw their right hand in the air. What’s up with that? These kids are my friends! But, alas, it was not going to end there. Things got worse!

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