The Lecture | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Lecture

When I was a senior in High School, my class schedule went something like this: AP Literature, A Cappella Choir, Seminary, Advanced Art, Drama 4, AP US History, Chamber Choir and I can't remember what else but it seems like it was probably a Typing class.

Mostly, I loved my schedule. I devised it to simulate what it might be like in a Performing Arts High School since I used to always watch "Fame!" and wish that I could attend a high school like that. Besides, I had finished up my math requirements (bane of my existence) and I had the room to do pretty much whatever I wanted.

Except, I had to take history. Not that I wasn't a history fan, because I always enjoyed it well enough and I was excited to take the AP test and get college credit and everything. But I didn't take into account The History Teacher. I could write a post every day for a year about this guy, but I will spare you all the misery and only tell you the good parts.

A little background on him first: He was middle-aged, single (not sure if he was ever married), assistant football coach, extremely intelligent, rather condescending, always dressed to the nines, and a male chauvinist extraordinaire.

Oh, and he hated the arts. Perhaps hated isn't quite a strong enough word, though. He loathed, detested and abhorred the arts and I still don't think that quite covers it. As I remember it, he took issue with me because I had art right before his class and I usually walked in with my gigantic sketch pad that wouldn't fit into my locker. Then he found out I was in the school musical. Then he looked at my class schedule and snorted.

And he picked on me. Oh how he picked on me! He made condescending remarks about my femininity and artsiness in front of the entire class on a daily basis. I couldn't ask or answer a question without a raised eyebrow and a patronizing aside. If I had to check out of class due to a performance of any kind he always had to throw in some sort of snide comment about how I was academically suffering due to my ridiculous affection for the arts. I commonly went home and complained about it to my mother, but all she ever did was tell me I needed to be a better student in his class and it would all go away.

One day, I couldn't take it anymore. I came home and had a nervous breakdown to my mom and told her I wasn't taking the stupid AP US History test anymore because I couldn't subject myself to that class and his horrible attitude of superiority for one more minute. Lucky for me, it just so happened to be Parent Teacher Conference that night, and my mother went to find out The History Teacher's side of things.

As soon as she sat down in front of The History Teacher and told him whose mother she was, he said to her (in that wonderfully snobby way of his), "Oh! The Thespian."

Then he launched into a diatribe of what an awful student I was because I spent all my spare time in rehearsals instead of studying history books. I was never prepared enough for class lectures (probably because I was off singing somewhere). Oh, and I doodled too much on my class notes while he was lecturing.

My mother then asked him what grade I was getting in his class. It was an A-. So, she launched into a diatribe of her own about how he wasn't being a very fair teacher and he was singling me out with absolutely no reason except that he didn't like my choices in class scheduling. She came home from the conference confident that all would now be well in my history class, and I could continue to go without persecution from The History Teacher.

Sure enough, all was well. Sort of. He indeed stopped singling me out after that. Except, he really still was singling me out because he just started to treat me like a ghost instead. If he could not speak down to me, he chose to just plain not speak to me at all. He ignored me when I raised my hand. When he would go up and down the rows having us each read a paragraph or something, he would always conveniently stop to say something just before my turn and then call on the person after me.

I don't really know if anyone in the class actually noticed my promotion from Favorite Female Person To Pick On In Class to Favorite Female Person To Ignore Completely, but I have to say it bothered me. Anyway, if the class didn't notice it at first, they most certainly noticed it after The Lecture.

The History Teacher rather enjoyed lecturing, always expecting that we would come to class prepared for his lectures by reading the assigned chapters. He often checked our preparedness level by just stopping mid-sentence and expecting someone to fill in the blank. If nobody seemed to know the right answer, he would begin to spell it until someone could finally figure it out.

So, on this particular day after my so called promotion, he was lecturing us about some topic I don't remember now, except that it had something to do with someone named McCarthy. And he stopped and wanted someone to fill in the blank. The word he was looking for was "raids." Nobody said it. He waited. The silence grew more and more deafening. So I said it.

He did not respond, so I said it again, because I had done my reading and I was certain I was correct. Still no answer from The History Teacher. I immediately realized that he couldn't bring himself to acknowledge me and my raids, so naturally, I said it again. I sang it several times. I was practically dancing on my desk in a theatrical fashion that was most likely excruciating for him. He continued to ignore me and began to spell. "R......" "R. A....." "R. A. I....." "Come on class, I can't believe you don't know this!"

Of course the class was totally confused and had no idea what to think by this point. I was still over in my corner chanting "Raids. Raids. Raids!!!" and though The History Teacher seemed to be spelling that, it must not be right because Lara is acting like a crazy person saying it a hundred times. But...if I wasn't right, then what could it be? Railroads? Rain? Raisins? Really, "raids" was the only logical answer.

"R. A. I. D...." spelled the History Teacher in exasperation.

Finally, a boy squeaked out the word "raids" ever so softly. But The History Teacher heard it and said, "Finally! I was beginning to think you were all stupid!" (Yes, he really said that.)

And then the bell rang and around 25 students left class wondering what in the world just happened at The Lecture. One student left knowing exactly what had happened and muttering under her breath about the jerk of a teacher she had.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I didn't pass the AP US History test. Because, after that kind of treatment, I refused to take it. I suffered through American Heritage in college instead.

40 comments :

  1. Wow, that's bad. People like that should NOT be teachers. Good for you for taking American Heritage instead. I want to find him and give him a piece of my mind!

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  2. That's down right creepy--but I bet you learned a big ol lesson on how to deal with creepy people. What an experience.

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  3. What a big 'ol dorkward. I can never understand why people like that become teachers.

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  4. He must have been in the closet and terrified if he was kind to a thespian he'd be found out.

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  5. Yikes. I guess now we know why he was single...

    The crazy thing is that any history buff HAS to see the correlation between the arts and any historical era or movement. They practically go hand in hand. What a moron. Is he still teaching there?

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  6. I distinctly remember saying to him, "You know, Parent-teacher conference is not just for the parent to find out how their child is doing, but for the parent to find out how the TEACHER is doing!" He hated that, and was totally taken aback by a mom who dare talk to him that way. I was very nice, but he was always condecending! God rest his soul!

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  7. I love clan of the cave hair's comment. She's probably exactly right!

    I was sitting here, feeling sick in my chair for you. I can't believe he was actually a teacher. And that the principal didn't do something.

    BTW, I took AP History too. My teacher was a jerk, but not that big of a jerk. Oh, and I took the AP History test, and FAILED. What a waste of time.

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  8. I'm so glad I never took AP History!! Our horrible AP English teacher was bad enough. He spit on the front row and like to be condescending to me, too. Where did our high school find these guys??

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  9. Wow, that is amazing. He sounded horrible!

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  10. Holy Cow! Now a days a teacher could NEVER get away with that! That's crazy! I'd like to think you went off on him on the last day of class! He's probably still single and lonely, set in his ways that will get him NO WHERE! You seem to come out stronger and better for it!

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  11. What a jerk! And I don't think I passed my AP History class either. Well, I took AP Art History, which I did pass, and AP European History, which I didn't. But it was because I was stupid.

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  12. What a big jerk!! I had a math teacher like that in Jr. High and my parents just transfered me out of his class and told the principal that I was to never have him again--ever.

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  13. just reading that made me mad, i can imagine going through that! I completely believe in karma, he'll get whats coming to him.

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  14. Oh, MAN! That is unbelievable! What a complete jerk! I'm so glad to read that your mom stuck up for you, and that you stuck up for yourself. People like that need to be taken to task! I wonder how many other people he's treated like that....or if he's still teaching. For the sake of every student, I hope not!

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  15. OH. MY. GOSH. I didn't think those types of teachers actually existed. What a jerk!!! AND what a baby to completely ignore you after being reprimanded. Talk about a major pout fest!!!

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  16. I wonder sometimes why some folks even WANT to be teachers. What an idiot. This will show MY bias, but I find history and the arts to be highly intertwined. I'm amazed that he'd show such open contempt for it (and therefore, you). Maybe cave hair is right. Maybe he went home every night to watch My Fair Lady.

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  17. I have many words running through my head, but I'm not supposed to use a single one of them. Let's just call this guy a first-class weenie.

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  18. My Mr. Whittier was similar to your teacher only he taught Biology,( the skinny on him was he never married, lived with his mother and he took great pleasure in squimish girls who didn't like to disect things ( especially ones like me who refused to disect a live frog so we could see his little heart beating...shades of the frog scene in E.T. except I didn't get kissed )Horrid man, but also a sharp dresser !

    BTW, I was in the choir, Play production, Drama Club and was in the National Thespian Honor Society so I know exactly what you mean about him being a snob, looking down his nose at you and getting that tone in his voice !

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  19. Excuse the expression, but what.an.ass. I HATE teachers like that. Hey, I don't like how sports takes precedence over classes, but I don't treat the sporty kids like crap. In fact, I make sure to let their coach know if they're being disrespectful or not working on their assignments/projects. If their grade is below a C, they can't participate. That's just to keep them responsible and accountable for their work. But it's not like I pick on the Sports. I just hate how there's always money for sports but the arts get the shaft. :sigh:

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  20. Wow, that's incredible and awful. I really hope my kids never get teachers like that. I had a couple that I really couldn't stand, but I don't think it was for reasons like that.

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  21. Isn't it sad that adults can act like such children? It always blows me away when I hear stories like this that there are actually such un-evolved people out there! This was very well written and fun to read!

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  22. I think you and I had almost the same schedule. I hate 4 choir classes my senior year.
    Your history teacher sounds like a jerk.
    Glad you survived it.

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  23. That is UNBELIEVABLE! Once upon a time I taught AP US History, and the only student I ignored was the one who read his history text for fun and knew more about it than I did!

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  24. I completely understand. My Economics teacher (a female) told me the first week of class that looks and a smile would not get me through her class. A jock who sat next to me, and was failing, was her favorite student. He copied one of my tests, answer for answer, and she accused me an A student as the one cheating. I was sent to school suspension, luckily my parents aren't ones to stand by and I never served my suspension. Which of course made her love me even more. My sister got her two years later and was immediantely transferred per my Mom. Seriously some people should NOT be allowed to teach kids!

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  25. I'm so sorry that happened to you!

    Mine was a Math teacher that thought I was an annoyance because I was an "online" student from another state. She pretty much decided to ignore until I had to call in the Math Head at Rio to get her to respond to my SOS emails.

    Bad teachers, they slip through the cracks...

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  26. totally random comment but I chuckled at your Dandelion Wine comment on your Blogger profile :)

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  27. WOW! That's hard to believe that someone could be that ignorant. You think a history professor of all people would have SOME appreciation for the arts, especially if you were a good student. Crazy...

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  28. My Communication teacher was JUST like it! Except mine was because i was "morman" UGH!! I hate teachers like that!! Like highschool wasnt hard enough on people. take care and thanks for sharing your story :) Hows Cedar City?

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  29. Did you just put suffer and American Heritage in the same sentance?
    Ouch. :)
    One of my history teachers was fired for selling arms to a foreign country.

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  30. I never had teachers like that, but I did have a mother. Loved me, wanted the best for me, but started a mantra on the first day of 10th grade that she was still chanting when I graduated with my music degree. "You can't sing your way through life, DeNae. At least learn to type." Doo-dah, doo-dah...

    22 years later, I make a very fine living...singing my way through life!

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  31. He sounds like a miserable man. I guess you showed him!

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  32. What an...come on, people! I---D---I---O.........

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  33. WOW that is seriously disturbed. Poor man.

    My AP history teacher was wonderful. And I was lucky enough to have teachers that embraced and encouraged the arts. Hopefully you and your wonderful mama taught that man something. Although sadly I doubt that message was received. :(

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  34. Um. Wow.

    I was also a thespian in high school - but I don't think I ever got flak for it.

    Yeah. No words. That meanie poopy face.

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  35. Ooooooh, I had a teacher I hated in HS too. She absolutely hated me -- probably because I talked too much -- and gave me really crappy grades on my essays. She taught English so it was all "subjective." She told me not to take IB High English because I would never pass. Well I got As and I passes the thing with a 6/7 which is a pretty difficult feat. HA HA Mrs. Zablinger!! Seriously -- any ugly name for an ugly person.

    I did love my AP us History teacher though.

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  36. People like that become teachers for the summer vacation.

    Sadly, teachers like that still exisit and do get away with crap like that, because people don't stand up for themselves.....I know, I'm a teacher.

    But I have to say....this was the funniest thing I've read since that Christmas letter Joel wrote! Holy cow.....good for you!

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  37. DaNae: Sounds like my parents with my art. My mom made me take 3 credits of computers in high school so I could do a business internship program my senior year, which I did, but I don't think it was necessary. She must have thought I needed to learn to be a secretary or something. Well, sure, I type 90wpm, but I went to COLLEGE and now I'm an ART TEACHER> But the typing comes in handy at work, and for commenting on blogs of course. :-) ...Jill

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  38. Have to admit, though--I was smiling pretty big imagining you as a high school senior singing "Raids!" at your desk. :)

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  39. Shades of Severus Snape!! I really enjoyed this post--you are a great writer!

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