Reflections on Teachers

It was fourth grade and my teacher was Mrs. Coil. She was tall and thin and had pinched features. I don't know why she was a teacher. She didn't seem to like children at all. I grew up in the time of swats and other rather harsh punishment, which she didn't hesitate to use. Our desks were in rows facing her desk where she would look over her glasses at you. Glare is a better word. I don't think she smiled much.
I remember her room being dark. Not sure if that's because it was or it's just the way my mind has painted that year in my head. A boy named Danny sat behind me. His mother died that year.  I had no idea how you could live without a mom. That's the only thing I could think of every time I saw him.  He was sad all the time. One day Mrs. Coil yelled at him for crying. That can't be good for your Karma.
One of  my most vivid memories that year was the day I fell on the playground. Winter in southern Idaho meant wet. My butt was covered with mud. I came in from recess, dragging my worn tennies.  Sitting in my desk, I huddled down, hoping no one would notice that I still had my coat on. Oh, yeah, she noticed. Mrs. Coil told me I couldn't wear my coat indoors.  I tried to explain what happened. "I don't care. If you wear your coat inside, when you go outside, it won't keep you warm and you'll get sick." I dragged myself to the cloak room to hang it up, then skulked back to my seat.  My face was red with embarassment.   It was just one of many bad days.
The one bright spot in that year was our student teacher. I don't remember his name, but I'm sure he became an excellent teacher. He loved us.  He had a ponytail, wore vests and  read us a book about Joe, an Indian.  Then, he helped us make a huge diarama about American Indians. It covered a whole table.  It was awesome. He was awesome.  We were all so sad when he left us.  I felt like we'd been abandoned. Back to the dark days with pinch-face.
I did have some really great teachers  through the years and I obviously survived without much consequence. Though, sometimes I wonder about Danny.

(Next time, I'll tell you about my favorite teacher- Mrs. Hawkins. Just her name makes me smile.)


  1. It's funny how much of an impact teachers have on us! I still remember my favorite (Mrs. Hansen, 3rd grade. She always gave us hugs every day before we left for the bus and she had a big red mailbox in the back of the room) and least favorite (Mrs. Tobin, 5th grade, she was just scary, like your pinch face lady.)


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