Tuesday, July 22, 2008

School Daze

I didn't have an easy time in elementary school. My family was not wealthy, I was too gangly to be athletic, and I was smarter than most of my classmates. These factors made me quite unpopular with the cool kids and sadly, some of the teachers.

I didn't run in to much trouble with teachers or administration in general until I was in seventh grade. Beginning with seventh grade we had "homeroom" teachers and then two or three other teachers for different subjects, similar to high school.

My homeroom teacher was a tiny lady (she was about 4'10") who sat on a tall stool in front of the classroom in order to see all her students. More than once we undid the cover, removed the cushion and replaced with a cushion that goes by the name of "Whopee". She fortunately had a decent sense of humor.

The Science Teacher that year was Lenny Ringman (not his real name, duh...). Mr. Ringman was a fan of the popular kids. Maybe because he and his family had moved to our state from Hawaii, where they apparently surfed daily and were just generally cool, dude. He was blond and tan and wore cooler clothes than our other male teachers.

The "popular" kids at my school were the athletically gifted. Or even just moderately coordinated, which I was not. I grew much to quickly to get a handle on my arms and legs in any way that was useful to any sort of competitive sport (unless you count monopoly).

I had several difficult days in elementary school, frustrated at my lack of fitting in and bored with the lack of mental challenge in my schoolwork.

After one such day I entered the science classroom in a mood that was less than ideal for molecules and spirogyra. I was lamenting to my best friend about whatever had ruined my day thus far when Mr. Ringman said (loud enough for the entire class to hear) "Quit complaining and sit down!" Without missing a beat I whipped around and responded "Shut up Mr. Ringman, who asked you?!"

Needless to say I was sent immediately to the principal's office. The principal knew that Mr. Ringman was a little bit of an elitist and instead of giving me a lecture, he just let me sit in his office for a half hour and then told me to have a good day.

The other night I dreamed about the Ringman family (he has four children, three older than me) and one of the daughters apologized to me for how "supreme" they all acted.


Jim Thomsen said...

I too was prone to such outbursts. I was well-known for not taking any crap, even if shutting my mouth was the smart move. I'd never cut off my nose to spite my sense of personal dignity. Good for you for drawing a similar line.

citizen of the world said...

ANd good for your principal for recognizing an unfair situation and letting you off the hook.

Angela said...

"After one such day I entered the science classroom in a mood that was less than ideal for molecules and spirogyra."

LOL! I'm so glad I have you on my team. The next time I need to tell someone to shut up, I'm calling you. Seriously. I'm not even kidding. Sounds like your principal rocked. Awesome.