My 8th grade daughter has a bad teacher in one of her favorite subjects. He’s a swaggery guy, newly imported from the west coast. He uses curse words, makes stuff up about English grammar, assigns no discernable work whatsoever, and belittles both the natives and the other teachers.Some of the other parents want to do something about it. I’m disgusted by the guy but don’t want to hurt my daughter.
I also don’t want to commit another murder.
Long, long ago, I wrote a very dramatic and terrible letter to my own 8th grade teacher on the last day of school, and I think it made him quit.
Here’s why I think so: I saw Mr. M afterwards, walking across the campus. He looked stunned, my letter dangling from his hand as if it were a telegram telling him his entire family had just been murdered. And then he didn’t come back to teach again the next year.
Mr. M was a mousy little man who wore only brown and gray, didn’t wash much, and peered at us through John Lennon glasses balanced on the end of his long nose. But Mr. M had us studying all night and writing 40 page papers, goading us mercilessly with his dramatic favoritisms and sudden irritations. I was deeply in love some of my classmates, while vying desperately with several others for Mr. M’s arbitrary attentions.
Though it was a language arts & social studies class, Mr. M was our theatrical director, and we didn’t just read Shakespeare in that class, we lived it. For two hours every day, he played us very skillfully. We switched identities, fought with swords, died tragic deaths, and did lots and lots of swooning.
(I was particularly proud of that one.)
We were probably Mr. M’s entire life, but were too full of our own selves to notice. What I did notice was that he was impossible to please, and seemed only to have eyes for the same attractive people that I did.
So I killed him.
I had no idea, really, that this mop-headed, bespeckled teacher was also a real person, who could stop being a teacher and become unemployed instead. Nor was he, really, the source of my adolescent angst.
Anyhoo, what to do about my daughter’s teacher?
There’s a happy ending for Mr. M, at least. I have no idea what happened during the intervening years, but someone sent me a newspaper clipping about him many years later. It was a feature story, headed by a large color photo of my former teacher, now posing in a flamboyant Bill Cosby sweater.
Introducing the new and improved Mr. M! He had resurfaced, and was known district-wide for his wildly polychromatic wardrobe, heavily featuring the color purple. The clothes were meant to go along with his penchant for dramatically unconventional teaching — get it?
Moral: Don’t mess with Almostgotit’s head, and don’t ignore her poetry. Cause if you do?
First she will kill you and then she will turn you into a gay purple circus performer.
Knox County teachers, consider yourselves warned.