The Teachers, part 2

Teachers leave their prints on our lives. Some shape us and some scar us. They can be boring and they can be inspiring. In my hometown there were three women who made lasting impressions on me and all 3 for completely different reasons.

Ms. Stevenson was my homeroom teacher in Jr. High. She was my first and last teacher-crush. (well, first aside from the T.V. Romper Room lady I was totally in love with when I was 3.) Ms. Stevenson was hot, especially for a teacher, and she was funny and most of the year I sat up at the front of the room and stared at her whenever she wasn’t looking. The two moments I remember most were her telling us a story about her cat chewing through an electrical cord at night after Ms. Stevenson had gone to bed. The cat got a electrical shock and bounced off the ceiling, Ms. Stevenson got a scare and I got to visit Ms. Stevenson’s apartment in my imagination.

The other moment was towards the end of the school year when I turned in this major research paper that I had spent loads of time on both writing and researching, I forced my mother to take me to dusty, dark backrooms for old articles that had been filed away, and when I got the paper back Ms. Stevenson had given it a C. A “C”. Average. Nothing special. No matter what the topic of the report I knew that each sentence that I had put so much time and effort in to really said, “I love, I love, I love you…” and I knew her “C” meant, “I reject you, I reject you, I reject you…” Girls my own age became much more attractive to me that day and I stopped thinking wearing blazers to school made me look older.

Mrs. Robinson (not her real name) was a high school teacher. She would sit on top of her desk, at the edge, and wrap her legs around the stand and play with it as she spoke to our class. I wouldn’t say she used it like a stripper pole but they definitely had a relationship. She was one of those great teachers who were determined to be the ‘cool’ teacher at the school and so never really was except in her own mind. I remember her giving us this paper in class one day that drew parallels between a Psalm, from the Bible, and a sonnet by Shakespeare. Her suggestion was that Shakespeare wrote the Bible. I wouldn’t smile like this if I didn’t think she was serious. She was exactly the kind of person who would’ve had her class reading The DaVinci Code with her and insist that it was both historical and scientific. She protected those she loved and tortured those she didn’t. When I first read C.S. Lewis’, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, she was cast in my imagination as the White Witch. And you know, I think she’d be thrilled with that.

Ms. Verner. If Ms. Stevenson was my Lady Diana and Mrs. Robinson the White Witch, Tede Verner was my Mother Teresa. She was an amazing teacher and woman and I couldn’t have loved her more. One day in journalism class she produced two fencing swords and challenged any takers to a duel. I could not not take the challenge. We went at it and she attacked me, driving me back across the room. At the last second, just before she would’ve killed me I got a lucky shot in and if she hadn’t been wearing glasses I would’ve taken her eye out. She stopped the match, realizing I was just uncoordinated enough to accidentally kill her.

She’d write, “Fine Job!” on the tops of my papers and made me feel like Hemingway (minus the binge drinking and suicidal thoughts).

In my last year of high school we had an academic quiz team that competed against other schools. I wasn’t smart enough for the team but I convinced Ms. Verner that like the other school teams they really needed a ‘manager’ and she took me on. I got to look like a genius, get out of school to go to competitions and have no real responsibility other than making Ms. Verner laugh. At one competition the “Host” asked a question about jazz that stumped all the teams. Turned out the correct answer was, “Jelly Roll Morton”. When he gave the answer I said, “I’d be too embarrassed to say that even if I knew the answer.” For whatever reason that struck Tede as the funniest thing she’d ever heard and I thought she was going to pass out from laughing so much. Since then, suffocating people with laughter has been an ambition, actually more like a hobby. Out of all my high school teachers, she’s the one I have contacted since I got out over 25 years ago.

That’s 4 teachers, one more to go, I’ll be writing about one of my profs from my Bible College experience next.

How about you? Any teachers leave a mark on you?


About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in Life, Rambling, Teachers. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Teachers, part 2

  1. You may to shocked to find out that I, the guy who is so well behaved and sitting to attention, was a major class clown…class asshole, actually. I hardly ever did any work and received at least two suspensions a month. I’m not kidding. I was a bad student and every teacher struggled to keep me in line. I even once had a vice principal move me to another section of the school because he could no longer deal with me.

    In Jr. High I refused to learn French. The school administration decided to put me into a resource class during the time when my classmates would be learning French. Mrs. Anderson was my resource teacher. She showed me everyday how much potential I had and how smart I actually was. Despite my claims of being stupid, she always made sure I left her class feeling smart. She also found it so hard to believe that the student all the teachers talked about (me) was actually the smart, kind, and eager to learn student who she sat with once a day.

    I went on to drop out of High School, but the impression that Mrs. Anderson left on me will last a life time; some people really want to help you, and some people can really bring out the best person in you. Mrs. Anderson knew how good of a person I was…five years before I even figured it out for myself.

  2. brianmpei says:

    Very cool Andrew. Thanks for adding that. And you’re right, I’m a bit shocked!

  3. Arron says:

    Andrew, your experience sounds alot like mine….. teachers……you know after all the negitive experiences I ‘ve had with teachers ……this one teacher who
    saw something in me (and told me so) inspired me so much and the difference he made in my life actually made me think I wanted to become a teacher , to impact others the way he did me.

  4. Arron, that is awesome. For sure some teachers go beyond their duty as an educator and actually leave kids with something they can take with them forever. I respect all teachers, it’s a hard job, but some a far more suited for the job than others.

  5. brianmpei says:

    Went back this month and drove in circles around a hardly recognizable RHS. Not sure what I was looking for. They were tearing down the old middle school with the stage we used for our brilliant productions. My kids wanted me to jump out and try to grab a brick before they carted them all away. I tried to explain it wasn’t the stone and mortar that meant something to me, it was the memories and the time of my life and I told them some stories of where I jumped out as ‘Captain Fantastic’ and which floors I got beat on. They’d have preferred it if I’d have just taken a brick.

  6. Roselynn Nguyen says:

    Hey, random question, but I love the teacher painting image you have for this page. Do you have the official name for it? I’m thinking of getting a copy for my thesis director. Thank you!

  7. brianmpei says:

    Sorry, I don’t. I liked the image but can’t tell you the artist.

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