When I learned that I’d gotten Mrs. B for my teacher, I was thrilled. My sister, Rita, had had her the year before, so I knew that Mrs. B's class got to sing every morning while she played the piano.
Even better, every spring Mrs. B's class put on a luncheon for the parents. They would choose the menu and plan everything and she’d cook the food and bring it in. Then they’d serve it on long folding tables set up in the hallway.
I could only feel pity for the kids who’d been assigned to the classroom of Mrs. K, who was known for being strict.
Midway through my fifth-grade year Mrs. B received a letter from one of the parents. She read us one paragraph, which accused her of having a teacher’s pet and pointed out that the time we spent singing could have been spent on math and science.
Mrs. B. wouldn’t tell us who had written it, or who the supposed pet was, but her eyes swept the classroom like a general surveying an enemy population. As she folded the letter back into the envelope with shaking hands, she announced she was canceling the luncheon. And, there would be no more singing.
After that, she became prone to wigging out, sending kids to the principal’s office for minor infractions and keeping the entire class after school for breaking rules we didn’t know existed.
In the spring, Mrs. K’s class put on a play about American history for the whole school. It had too many parts for her class, so a few of us from Mrs. B’s class got to be in it. During rehearsals, I learned that her class adored her. She didn’t take any crap, but she was blissfully consistent.
My fifth grade takeaway: Strictness is only skin deep, but crazy is to the bone.
Elementary Retrospective: Sixth Grade OR Are Teachers Bound by the Geneva Convention?