February 7, 2011
Here’s today’s topic, brought to you by Plinky.com: Describe the worst teacher you ever had.”
The challenge today is certainly an amusing one! Everyone has had that one bad teacher, however for some its way too much and itself is a challenge picking the worst of them all.
“…Someone told me that their is always an extra seat in the class for her ego”, was the comment yesterday from a colleague of mine regarding a lecturer we had last semester, to which I agree and said there are two chairs for her ego, any poll could prove. With such sentiments its difficult to imagine why some people get into the career of teaching career in the first place if absent from their nature are patience to endure students.
My worse teacher had to be my Five Grade teacher, a Miss Palmer, she was slim, dark skin and had jerried hair and had only recently completed Teacher’s College when she got a gig at my school because my then teacher was on leave. We often nicknamed her “Annie Palmer“, “Annie Palmer the Witch” or “the Witch”, the name was given because we felt she was the replica of ‘the White Witch of Rose Hall‘ a popular book and cultural remnant of Jamaica.
I wasn’t a fan of Miss Palmer and I never hide it, I’m getting ahead of myself. I can’t recall exactly how Miss Palmer assume duties for my class, but I believe school had already start for that term. From the get go I was fond of her, but that had nothing to do with me dubbing her the worse teacher. She wasn’t new to the school and so I knew of her from an Assistant Teacher position she played while she was doing teaching practise the year/term before.
She had a particular annoying voice, shouted (one of my biggest pet peeved), a liar (another pet peeved), loud and seem to take a particular pleasure in beating students. To be frank I often thought she became a teacher because that was the only thing left for her to do. She seem to have been one of those “new teachers” who were doing things because she was told by the authority, rightfully so because we were located just outside a passage way to our principal’s office and staff room. Apparently someone told her “keep them (the students) quite, your job depends on it”.
My first reason for not liking Ms. Palmer was relating to an incident that happen at the end of school term outing/trip that we would regularly go on. While some parents had accompanied their child/children, I was alone like most others. I had grown accustomed to going on schools by myself with only supervision from the teachers present and perhaps parents who were present. Returning from the trip I was told and expected to travel when I reach the final stop when we got back to school with another bus driver and family friend who had took another class. I disembarked the bus that had took my class at the final stop and boarded the family friend bus driver, who still had persons in it that the driver would stop and leave while he was passing their residence.
The reason my parents had instructed me to boarded that bus was because the driver would have pass my house before reaching his, they were sure of my safety and the said driver had pick me up that morning and left me at school so I could have boarded my bus to the trip. However, when I boarded the family friend bus driver’s bus, Ms. Palmer who was left in charge of that bus mentioned that she never knew me and I explain why I was on the bus. She proceeded to talk to me in a loud tone that the bus wasn’t going where I had indicated I was, all without consultation with the driver. The one Ms. Palmer preceded to instruct me to get off the bus and eventually led me off the bus. I watch as the bus drove off in the night and I was left in the cold of that Wednesday night; a child of nine and a half, with bags of clothes from the fun I had that day and other items brought back from the trip. It couldn’t have been later than 9:30pm and I sat on my bag under the front of a closed shop, snacking away at food items I had with me at the time, mainly KFC chicken.
I sat there for what would have been almost an hour, hoping that my family would realise soonest that I had missed the family friend when the bus drove past our house and would come in search of me.
By intuition my mother had began had just thought that it was too late and I wasn’t home yet and that’s when dad came in search of me. Driving he saw the family friend and ask if I was with him, he check and there was no Leethan. Miss Palmer who was on that bus, I was later inform by my dad and the family friend noted that I had gotten off the bus in the square of the town. Now this “witch” didn’t explain that she had told me to get off the bus, but twisted the words to make it look like I willingly got off. Shortly after my dad’s encounter when both he came and fetch me.
Driving home we ran into the family friend, who was driving back to the town square, he said, to ensure that my dad had found me. Coincidentally, we all met right after the family friend had drop “the witch” home and had turn the bus around. My dad explain to the family friend what I had said and the “the witch” eavesdrop. After talking with the family friend, my dad stop and exchange words with the Miss Palmer she asking her what kind of teacher she was to have left a student of not ten on the street like that without care for how he would get home. Frankly I never thought my dad dealt with the case well, I wanted him to give her a proper tongue-lashing, but he never did.
The following day the woman had the audacity to come in my classroom to ask me why I told a lie on her. Right there and then I got feisty with her and told her she was rude to have been talking with me the way she approach me. I gave her all of the bitterness I had because I was left in the cold and some of what both my parents had quarrel about re the incident. I did refresh her memory as to what she did and told her next time she must ask proper questions before she act. I remember she trying to reprimand me and me telling her she was the one in need of it. I gave her everything my mother wanted to give her and the anger and embarrassment I felt because of how she chase me off the bus.
So when she became my teacher I had a severe distaste for her, which I wasn’t going to release. I did the work she gave, and refuse to communicate with her if I never understood anything. Thank heavens I was a quick child, and when I never understood what was thought I asked my Principal who was in charge of extra lessons.
My relationship with Miss Palmer further disintegrated when we were given a short story assignment for class. I went home and like usual my mother ask me what about my homework and I told her what it was. I was instructed to complete it and showed it to her, which I did, my mother wasn’t satisfied and told me to do it over. Instead of doing my English assignment I did other assignments and was refusing to do it. When my mother asked for it again and I brought the said thing, she beat me and told me that wasn’t a story. Shortly after she sent me to the shop to get something to purchase. This upset me more because it was raining, I had to walk pass this dark corner, where it was often said duppy existed. On my way back from the shop I notice what appeared to be moving shadows. Given the stories of duppies, nearby graves to the corner, the dark corner and it was raining, I panic said it was duppy and attempted to run. Sooner I started running I knock my toe and felt a burning sensation; it was bleeding.
I got home without any Duppy doing me anything and my big toe gushing with blood. My mother treated the toe and joked, “this is some story”. I precede to document what happen and added a extra ending that I had stumbled over the near by gully and crabs had finish snapping off my toe. My mother applauded my efforts and told me I had done well.
When the Miss Palmer she had read the story, she marked and indicated her comments in red ink “Plagiarism, this is not your idea.” I went to talk with her after and she refuse to hear me out, saying I had copied it. Right there and then I vowed that I hated the woman name Miss Palmer and that I was through with English as a subject and writing short stories. I was that serious that all my exams papers for the remaining of my five and six grade having anything to do with stories were deliberately omitted unless I could have a choice and did one. I however did one other good story in six grade base on a picture for another teacher’s class all because a girl I liked had done an impressive piece that was read in class. Outside of that I hate writing until my quest for journalism took the most of me in high school.
Have you have seen this challenge has brought back to me repressed memories. Wish I could see that Miss Palmer now, think I owe her couple punches to the face, perhaps if it wasn’t for those mean things she said I would have been a better writer all those years ago. I guess she though I should have produce mediocrity work because that was what she was use to producing.
There you have it the story about “The Witch” aka Annie Palmer, the worst teacher EVER!