Memories of school injustice and teacher incompetence (or How things haven’t changed much since then…)
It’s funny, in spite of the passing of over 47 years, some things stubbornly remain in my mind.
Some nagging thoughts seem like they’re held prisoner in my head with no chance of parole.
Today I read yet another article about the failing U.S. Education System. It prompted me to think of an old friend and a shithead Science teacher we both had in our youth.
The teacher was the epitome of prideful, functional idiocy.
But since he had years of “successful teaching” under his belt, he was given Carte Blanche with how he ran his classroom — no matter how unfair it was.
Only in America will you find people calling themselves teachers, but have no business standing in front of students.
Only in the United States will you see mediocre educators ushered along the teacher career path/gauntlet in spite of a total lack of teaching skills.
It seems like the mere act of surviving on paltry salaries, not rocking the institutional boat, fostering in-school political alliances, and keeping your head down is not only expected, but incentivised with harsh punishments for noncompliance and lopsided rewards.
Understandably, many teachers get Napoleanic in his/her own realm (the classroom).
In their minds, it’s a modest compensation for all of their percieved “sacrifices” in life.
My idea of teaching is about giving, NOT taking, and never coveting!
But the system staunchly recognizes the social power of being regarded at best “an icon”; or at the very least “a fixture” of the campus.
Back to my musings…
One time, when I was very young, I asked a question that my home room teacher (who also taught science in the last class period of my school day) had no answer for.
The question was this:
“Why can’t scientists accelerate mitochondrial development or even introduce more mitochondria into the human cell to promote energy production?”
(Keep in mind that this was in ~1971 and I was only 8 y/o.)
The teacher, instead of saying, “That’s a good question. And I don’t know the answer. But I’ll try to find out as soon as possible,” he became visibly irritated and told me to finish the day’s portion of the current assignment.
“I finished it already. Here it is.” I said.
Grabbing my paper, the teacher scanned my work and said, “When did you do this? I just gave out this 3-Day Assignment twenty minutes ago.”
“I finished it ten minutes later.”
The teacher said nothing and just began walking around the room checking the other students’ progress.
I took out a comic book (X-Men) and began flipping through it.
My friend, seated behind me, grabbed it and started taunting me with it. I turned around and snatched back my comic book. We giggled as we continued playing this impromptu game of “keep away.”
I guess we were making too much of a ruckus because the teacher swooped in and quickly confiscated my comic book.
Not wanting to confront the teacher, I just put my head down on my desk — well, actually on my folded arms on top of the desk, and hoped nothing else happened for the remaining 45 minutes of class.
I must have dozed off because the next thing I heard was the bell; meaning, home room is over, time to follow the herd to the next class.
Fast forward to my last class period — Science.
Same teacher as in home room.
I figured that my comic book was still locked up in the stupid teacher’s desk.
“Hey, where’s the comic book?” my friend yelled from the other end of the room (the teacher had separated us in the first minutes of class).
I shook my head, made the “shooshing gesture”, and said nothing.
The teacher, with his back toward us, was writing on the chalkboard when my friend creeped over and plopped my comic book on my desk.
Perplexed, I said, “How did you get that?”
“I waited until the coast was clear, snuck back in after home room this morning and jimmied the lock. Aren’t you going to thank me?” he said.
“Thanks, man. But remember, it was OUR “grab-assing” and noise that got it snatched in the first place.”
We both laughed — apparently too loudly.
How did I know this?
Because all of a sudden the dreaded “Hand” of my teacher came over my shoulder from behind and took my comic book away again!
“Shit!” I mumbled.
I was “awarded” a trip to the Principal’s Office.
The Principal ordered me to stand quietly in front of his desk.
Then he called both my father and my mother at their workplaces and told them my Science teacher’s version of what happened.
“…So, I have your permission to keep him an hour or so late today? Good. Thank you, Sir.”
It wasn’t until then that he asked me what happened.
I told him, but it didn’t seem to matter. I was staying after school that day.
Back in my Science class room I was tasked to look up the definition of words from the dictionary and copy them (multiple times) onto the chalkboard.
When I ran out of room on the two chalkboards, I erased both of them and repeated the process.
This routine went on for one and a half hours.
My Science/home room teacher was present grading papers while I wrote.
He would give me that asshole smirk of his whenever I stopped to straighten out my cramped fingers and glanced his way.
From that point forward, I never got along with that teacher or the Principal.
And fortunately for me, a few weeks later my father got another promotion, we moved to another state, and I transferred to another school.
“Yeah it’s funny, in spite of 4 1/2+ decades, what can still stick in the mind. Like an Educational System that allows people like my old shithead Science teacher to continue ‘molding young minds’…”
Parting Shots —
Mighty Kind of You for stopping by. Truly hope to see you again!
About the Author —
Believing that school was too boring, he dropped out of High School early; only to earn an AA, BS and MBA in less than 4 years much later in life — while working full-time as a Navy/Marine Corps Medic.
In spite of a fear of heights and deep water, he performed high altitude, free-fall parachute jumps and hazardous diving ops in deep, open ocean water.
After 24 years of active duty, he retired in Asia.
Since then, he’s been a full-time, single papa and actively pursuing his varied passions (Writing, Disruptive Technology, Computer Science and Cryptocurrency — plus more hobbies too boring or bizarre for most folk).
He lives on an island paradise with his teenage daughter, longtime girlfriend and two dogs.
Source”My mind was a terrible thing to waste…” — JaiChai
Originally published at https://steemit.com on August 22, 2018.