I Had Two Different Teachers in the Seventh Grade

Photo of 1909 painting by Tade Styka hanging in the White House Roosevelt Room during the administration of Bill Clinton.
Photo of 1909 painting by Tade Styka hanging in the White House Roosevelt Room during the administration of Bill Clinton.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

In my article Should Grammar School Students Be Arrested for Bathroom Graffiti?, I wrote that I was left back a couple of times in grammar school. In that article I omitted mentioning that in the seventh grade I was thrown out of one teacher's class into another's although I briefly alluded to it in my article Back to School Books for Muslims.

Today I would like to explain in detail how I came to have two different teachers. First off, let me admit that I was a bad boy, but not a violent one - I didn't bully anyone (nor was I ever bullied), not once was I ever involved in a fight, nor did I ever destroy property. My offenses were those that disrupted class decorum: making farting or snoring noises, making obscene gestures, interrupting lectures with jokes, or making disparaging remarks about historical figures.

It was a disparaging remark that was the last straw for one of my teachers. One day, about halfway through Grade 7 at Theodore Roosevelt School in Bayonne, New Jersey, my teacher Ms Mara was giving us a lecture on the Spanish Civil War when she proudly held up a picture of Theodore Roosevelt on a horse rampant: "Here is a picture of who this school is named after." Being the impertinent jokester that I was, I quipped: "This school is named after a horse?"

The class erupted in laughter, but Ms. Mara was shocked and whipped this back at me: "What did you say?" I replied, "I was just wondering which one, which one was this school named after."

"That's it - get out of my classroom - go to the principal and tell him what you said."

The principal was not amused either. I was kept after school and told to apologize to Ms. Mara. Afterward, I went to her classroom but since classes were over, she wasn't there. I have to say, I was upset that she couldn't take a joke and so I apologized to her on her desk. I took a magic marker and wrote, "I'm sorry," on her desk blotter.

Needless to say Ms. Mara for some reason didn't feel my apology was heartfelt or sincere and insisted to the principal that she couldn't abide my presence in her class any longer. Since the offense was not severe enough to get me expelled, I was assigned to another teacher for the remainder of the year.

On reflection, I now realize that when Ms. Mara said, "That's it," she really meant to say, "That's finally it." That my insult to the memory of President Roosevelt was the last straw in a series of too many other straws.

### End of my article ###

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