I’ve been thinking a lot about G2’s post on when teachers are the bullies. Teachers are like everyone else some are bat shit crazy, and others make an extraordinary differences in the lives of their students. We all see the stories in the news about the bullying abusive types, the ones who are having sex with their students, and we all know the ones who forget they are the example setters, and join in the party. We also hear about the more noble teachers who fork out substantial amounts of their meager paychecks to pick up where school budgets lack far behind in contributions. The ones who motivate, and validate their students to go beyond the average boundaries of their existence, teaching students to reach unimaginable goals. I’ve met them all, but there were a couple who stand forefront in my memory bank like “Ms. G.” my 10th grade French teacher.
“Ms. G” was not the popular teacher who everyone had hoped to get for a teacher. She was a former Nun with a much less than sunny disposition. I can only remember seeing her smile on one occasion when another student’s mother who had showed up to our class to read “Ms. G” the riot act for her child’s poor report card grade stubbed her toe on a very large heavy desk leaving our classroom in a highly dramatic exit.
I remember watching her face expressionless as this haughty southern uniformed mother verbally berated her teaching style in front of our whole class. The southern mom’s uniform back in the day consisted of teased overly dyed big hair with bangs, tight high-waisted blue jeans, tucked in cotton t-shirt divided by a large buckled thick belt, with opened toe “Candies” high-heeled shoes. Just picture Olivia Newton John in the movie Grease, and you will get the visual. I couldn’t understand why “Ms. G” had just stood there enduring this verbal lashing without even once trying to defend herself.
The bell rang, and I had decided to blow off my next class. I made my way up to the roof top of our school. It was an excellent place to hide, and have a smoke without being seen by anyone else. I thought that no one else knew about this spot, but as I sat there smoking my cigarette I heard the window I had just crawled out onto the roof through open. I looked up to see “Ms. G” climbing out onto the roof. I panicked for a second thinking she was about to bust me for smoking. She just gave me a stern look, and proceeded to light up her own cigarette. I asked her why she hadn’t responded to the mom who had just verbally bashed her in class.
“Ms. G” looked at me and replied ” Mademoiselle you know her daughter, therefore you know this woman is punished enough!” She put out her cigarette, and headed back towards the window she had just climbed through. She stopped turned back around, and said “Make sure you put your cigarette out without setting the whole school on fire.” I can not recall what I learned in any other of my classes that day, but I will always remember what I learned from “Ms. G”. 😉