And other things I have said to my high school teachers.
I want to point out that before grade 8, I was that shy, mousey, girl sitting in the back of the class with her nose stuck in a book. I’d never speak unless spoken to by a teacher, I’d never make any trouble at all. But that all changed in grade 8. I moved and started at a new school. My first day, my mom told me something that I guess stuck with me: no one knows you here. You can be whoever you want to be.
I guess I came out of my shell a little bit.
In grade 9, my first class of the year was English. I had this one teacher who just brought out all the sass in me. For those of you who communicate with me outside of WordPress, you can thank him for unleashing the sass.
Our first day of grade 9, our first class of the day, and our first impression with this new teacher is one I don’t think I will ever forget. He sat down and started pulling random items out of his desk. First a butter knife, then a hammer, then a box cutter. He just pulled them out and made a show of slamming them onto his desk. Then he put up an overhead (yes, we still have overhead projectors back then). It was a picture of a devil’s head. But the face was his face. A former student had drawn it of him.
That was the first introduction my grade had to Mr. G. Here are a few other things that happened:
- We were in a portable, right beside the football field. On occasion, if someone was annoying him, he’d send them out in the cold to sit on the bleachers to do their work. Or send someone to run to the cafeteria to get him some coffee.
- He didn’t like that I was talking to my friend who sat beside me. He moved her. We talked louder or passed notes. He said that we needed to stop talking. I told him that I’d stop talking when he changed the seating plan. He said I’d give in before he did. I said challenge accepted.
- I asked every single day from Thanksgiving until Christmas break for a new seating plan. Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October in Canada.
- He threatened to move my desk to the snow-covered football field for the rest of the term.
- I told him I’d bring a sleeping bag and walkie-talkies from home so I could still hear his lessons and talk to my friends
- Mr. G: Do you know what time it is? ME: new seating plan time! HIM: …time for grammar…
- The new seating plan came into effect right before the holiday break.
- His wife had just had a baby so he’d randomly be late because he was so tired he’d forget if he turned off the iron and had to go all the way back home to check.
- The class had a snowball fight IN the portable.
Oh, did I mention that he was the head of the English department?! haha!
When the first semester of grade 9 was over, I was so happy to be out of his class. For the next 3 years, we had a little bit of a mutual hatred going on. Like it wasn’t horrible, it was cordial I guess, maybe a little bit of disdain, but yeah.
I’m sure you could imagine my utter horror when I received my schedule for my last semester in grade 12 and realized that my English class was with Mr. G. To be all poetic about things, it was the last class of the day too. My very first class of grade 9 was his, and my very last class of grade 12 was his. It’s kind of a nice way to bookend my high school career, don’t ya think?
Grade 12 wasn’t as sass-filled as grade 9. Both Mr. G and I had mellowed. He was out of his baby fog, and I was in my “last semester of grade 12 just get me outta here” zone. It probably also helped that I didn’t have any really close friends in that class. It was full of the cheer squad and the annoying arts program people.
That semester, Mr. G also had a student teacher learning from him. During our final month, he had planned out two weeks of presentations and then we were going to wrap everything up for the year. When we had finished week three of the presentations and were starting into the 4th, I was getting seriously annoyed. He was being too nice to these people – “Oh Mr. G can I present tomorrow? I need more time” um NO! We were all supposed to be done and ready to hand in the projects before the first presentation!
One day, I was in the library at lunch and he was there with his student teacher. I didn’t know that it was his student teacher at that time because she was never observing in my class. I passed him and I asked him what we were doing in class that day.
Mr. G: why?
Me: because if I have to sit through another day of stupid presentations I’m going to die. I would rather jab a rusty pen into my eye”
Mr. G uncapping the pen he was holding: Can I help?
Student teacher’s face frozen with shock and horror.
And that basically sums up our relationship dynamic! The last day of class we parted in a good way, though. Our banter and hostilities really did make for an interesting term and memories that I think I will carry with me for probably the rest of my life.