I’m not going to mention the guy’s name because I just found out he’s still alive, still married, and has been honoured in a big way for being a fantastic teacher over the years.
I’ll tell you how fantastic he was.
He was my grade six teacher and when he heard one of us talking, he’d turn beet red. Then he’d throw chalk at our faces as hard as he could.
That’s when he was only a tad upset.
If he was in a slightly worse mood, maybe he couldn’t get laid the night before or couldn’t find his Brylcreem, he would throw, as hard as he could, wooden chalkboard erasers at us. Often he connected. He would have made a fine pitcher.
If he was in a really bad mood and heard us talking, he would slowly walk down the aisle to our desks and slap us silly across the head a half-dozen times or more, jangling any previous geography or arithmetic lessons we might have had lodged in our brains.
And if he was in an extremely bad mood, worse than the last mood, and heard one of us talking, which unfortunately was often me, he would walk slowly down the aisle again, grab us by the hair and shake us violently back and forth a bunch ot times, and which felt like our scalp was coming off. And for the grand finale, he’d lift us right our of our seat by our freaking hair. Some of the girls cried when they saw him doing this to us.
It hurt like hell. No wonder I don’t have a full head of hair now.
This was a big guy too. I used to see him in church and wondered, as he prayed and looked normal, if he slapped his wife around.
I found an old email address online for him a few weeks ago and tried to write him a letter, but the address was no longer valid and it didn’t go through. I wanted to tell him that if he ever did to my kid what he did to me and others, I’d have him charged.
I also wanted to mention that maybe, just maybe, he took any enthusiasm I might have had for school out of me forever. But I never told my parents what he was doing to us. I don’t think anybody told their parents. I don’t know why.
Anyway, I googled him and to my surprise, found him. There he was, looking much older, the slicked back Elvis hair now the thin grey hair of an older bugger, accepting an award. Congratulations, Mr. teacher.