Monday, August 31, 2015
A Note to Teacher
I was thinking back to some of my own teachers back in the "olden days" and how what they said made such an impression on me. Back in those days your teachers were the next thing to God in your life because your parents were simply not involved in school. What your teacher said became the gospel!
So, when my second grade teacher told my parents, "Debbie doesn't play well with others", my iron fisted Daddy said, "God Dammit Deb you better straighten the Hell out". Yea, I knew I was different since I was a little girl, and blamed a lot of it on being an only child. I tried really hard to fit in, mostly because I didn't want my Dad to kick me in the ass, which is truly what would have happened if I got another bad report from my teacher. Today, that quote, "Deb doesn't play well with others" has become quite the running joke among my family and friends when somethin' bugs the livin' shit outta me and I go off on one of my tirades.
Then when I was in sixth grade, my teacher caught me in a lie and had me stay inside for recess to read as a punishment. I told her that was fine with me and maybe I would start a reading club. She spoke to my parents about how "strange" she thought my reaction was because basically nobody wants to be in a reading club. Hah, guess I was ahead of the curve on the poplar book club craze today huh?
Now imagine my surprise when I got to high school and was placed in Mr. Spanogle's English class, once in 9th grade I think, (I can't really remember because I'm getting senile) and again my senior year. He not only liked my weirdness, he actually embraced and encouraged it. One day he commented that he would like to get inside my brain because he thought there were some really neat ideas in there. He may have even used the word "groovy". When every student had to recite Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee" poem in front of the class, I asked if I could put a comic twist on it like that classic Brady Bunch episode where Mr. Brady performs a dramatic reading, and Peter and Bobby throw feathers, a funky chicken and pour water on him. Although Mr. Spanogle said my request was not appropriate for the assignment, he appreciated me thinking outside the box, and told me to be proud of my unique spirit and to not always follow the crowd.
Mr. Spanogle passed away recently, and it really hit me hard because I carried his wise words of advice with me throughout my life. Without a doubt, the biggest successes in my life, and the moments I have been most proud of myself have been when I went rogue and did not follow the crowd. Thank you Mr. Spanogle for not only believing in me, but more importantly, for making me believe in me!