My Biology teacher smirked with a rather fulfilled look on his face. He had gotten a one up over me. He had finally made me pay for my acts of classroom disruptions, sarcastic remarks and constant tardiness. And I was on the receiving end of a week in lunch time in-school detention.
So I guess you’re wondering how this happened, huh? Well, I had always been a pretty quick thinker and I had a habit of saying the right funny thing at the right funny time. It was a gift. But for some reason I decided to make my 10th grade Biology teacher the primary target of my humor rather quickly due to his constant corny and often repeated jokes. His ties were his pride and joy of his dress attire and they never matched–ever. Also, I showed up late to his class almost everyday because my transportation to school arrived late almost everyday. So it appeared that I was doing it on purpose. When he said things in class, I would make a remark or sound affect that would leave the class rolling in the isles but with him absolutely clueless as to whether or not we were laughing with him or at him. But he wasn’t as clueless as it seemed.
As I continued to rack up insults and side jokes he had been filling out tardy slips and storing them in his desk drawer. Somehow, someway, he was able to take all 30 of these tardy slips and have a administrative assistant to translate them into an case file that was the equivalent of an offense that required 5 days of in-school detention. Don’t ask me how he did it, but he did it. He had been collecting these slips over the course of several months too.
So one day, I walked into class late for a test, and he actually started the bantering match with me first. In my youth and ignorance I bantered back about his tie, took my copy of the test to my seat and began taking the test. Once I had finished and brought it to the front to turn in I made one more comment just loud enough for others to hear and laugh. That’s when he made the comment that I will never forget: “Hey, that was pretty funny. Oh, aren’t you forgetting something?”
And that was when he gave me the smirk. I looked down at the slip of paper and I quickly saw the “Detention” written in red. I was in shock. I began to ask if it was a joke. He smiled back and said “Oh no, I can assure you that it is real.” I quickly ran out of the classroom to the administration office during class to find out if this was some sort of joke. It was real. I had detention. And when I walked back into that classroom, he burst into laughter, “Looks like I had the last laugh after all, huh?!?”
Detention at that school was actually dangerous, because the gang members who were in trouble committed offenses to get put into detention for safety so that they wouldn’t get jumped by other gangs during lunch. So you basically had a room full of rival (angry) gang members locked in one room who all believed in the torture of guys like me. I would have rather been publicly flogged during a pep rally in a Rainbow Bright outfit. At least the only thing that would have been assaulted would have been my dignity and reputation.
I watch students do similar things in their classes and then sit in wonderment as to how they drew the wrath of their teachers upon them. They struggle to find words to explain why they do not feel “comfortable” approaching their teacher for help–when they know exactly WHY they feel this way. Making your instructor the enemy is always easy to do. We make them the enemy of our crusade in education because they are of a different race, a different gender, a different socioeconomic group or maybe because they have different standards and lifestyles. But sometimes the truth is that we make them the enemy because we have misplaced our frustration which was created by the stress of current circumstances. They happen to be the one’s of authority who cannot fire us or disown us or arrest us at that time and so we place them on the bottom of the totem pole of honor, thereby leaving them to receive our daily provision of ire and dissatisfaction.
It was this sort of misplaced blame that I used as a cop-out while struggling in college courses. Some of those instructors did not deserve my disrespect and lack of commitment to grasping the material. So before you begin to join the others of your class with heckling, whispering and slightly over-the-top teacher -bashing, try to make sure that your strong intent on participating in this behavior is not being driven by your lack:
1) lack of understanding of the material
2) lack of understanding of your teacher
3) lack of seeing the relevancy of the course material
4) lack of open communication between the instructor and the student
5) lack of sleep (yes, for some, sleep is the difference between them and satan himself)
6) lack of a previous background in the current material
7) lack of self confidence
8 ) lack of support
9) lack of control over personal circumstances
10) lack of direction