Wednesday, June 11, 2014

home sweet school

There I was at the self-checkout of My Beloved Meijer when who should sidle up beside but Mrs. Deason, my much revered and feared high school math teacher. My heart stopped, then it pounded. I leapt with joy as I sprung to thank her for all she put me through to teach me a thing or two about formulas and complicated sums.

She was a tough egg to crack, let me tell you. She was to be feared, and most of us with a lick of sense truly did. Who know what she would make us do if we didn't get our homework done or show all our work. She was driven and tenacious, and she knew how to use that furrowed brow when she needed it.

Looking back, she was my favorite teacher although at the time, I was too petrified of her to realize it. She made you work, baby. Blood, sweat, and tears.

I gushed unabashedly on her ability to get the most out of a kid. She was touched, I could tell, almost brought to tears. It had been nearly thirty years since I'd been in her classroom, and I don't know how long since she retired.

She couldn't have known how much I respected her because I didn't realize it myself until after I left much, much later.

Then I thought to show her my children. I told her that we homeschool, and she shrunk back in visible discomfort.

What is it, Mrs. Deason? What troubles you so? Have a little faith in me. I was a good student, remember? I was in National Honor Society two years running. I got good grades. I could have done better. Yes, but even though the lightbulb often didn't come on until after the test, I showed great promise, did I not?

What then should be troubling you? Is it the fact that I was just feverishly looking for the $5 coupon I knew I had floating around in my purse. Was it the flurry of cards and papers and personal effects that had erupted from my pocketbook? Honestly, my life isn't really this cloud of confusion you see before you now. It gets better.

Here, go ask my children. Ask the young one if he knows how to do long division. See for yourself. Ask them what the capital of Florida is. Don't worry now. Have faith in the system. I know what I'm doing. I'm a degreed librarian. If I don't have the answer at my fingertips, I sure as shootin' know how to find it.

Don't wince like that, Mrs. Deason. There's hope for the future. My own children love math. Why, it is actually their favorite subject. And just think, I'm sure somewhere right this very minute there is a calculus class undergoing a grueling pop-quiz. Doesn't that make you feel better, Mrs. Deason? Somewhere an entire classroom of highschoolers is cutting their teeth on the quadratic formula. There, there, steady now. O lady, weep no more. It's all just a dream. Just a bad, bad dream.

link: life of fred, weep no more