5th grade memories


Save Sprinkles has been a wonderful and constant commenter of my blog in the Blogosphere. When I started following her, I learned she has two daughters and she has a couple of years until she becomes an empty nester.  She also comes with one husband and two lazy cats.

Sprinkles has a cool list titled “50 things I want to do before I turn 50,” but I think she has only actually generated about 40 or so items. One of the things on her To-Do list is “sew something.” I think she needs to sew a pillow and cross that shizzle off her list. But I think she means she wants to sew something elaborate that she could actually wear. Like out. I’m not sure. She also wants to add 10 words to urbandictionary.com and get something published. Okay, so these are a little harder than making a pillow. You can check out Spinkles’s list on her blog “How Can I Complain?” HERE.  Also, you can Twitter-stalk her at Sprinkles1234_.

Here is her teacher memory.

• • •

A Different Kind of Punishment

At nearly six feet tall, Mrs. Larson towered over her fifth grade students. I had never noticed just how tall she was until the afternoon she stood above me on the playground holding the back of my shirt in one hand and the back of Dawn Cooper’s shirt in the other.  She had just separated us from a ferocious girl fight of nameless origins. It may have started because Dawn said my shoes were ugly or because I stuck my tongue out at her in the lunch line, or because Dawn and I just never got along. The starting point didn’t really matter because now we were both dirty, scratched up, and in BIG trouble.  Mrs. Larson stood us both up against the ancient school building and told us to choose a brick on which to touch our noses. As my nose rested against the rough, baked clay, I worried profusely about what my punishment would be. It was Friday and the weather was beautiful. I was looking forward to a weekend of bike riding and I didn’t want mean, old Mrs. Larson to screw things up for me.

Sprinkles in 5th grade

I knew from prior offenses that Mrs. Larson was a “mom caller” and nothing was a worse punishment than a poor behavior call from the teacher.  In my house, if you got in trouble at school, you got in ten times more trouble at home, and I wasn’t looking forward to that!  When playtime ended Mrs. Larson calmly told us to report to her room during recess on Monday for our punishment. I spent the rest of the school day striving for perfect behavior, in silent hope that she would forget to call my mother.

My stomach ached on the bus ride home. Had Mrs. Larson called my mom already, or would she call once I got home?  The entire weekend passed slowly as I nervously anticipated my mother to call me from my play at any moment and banish me to my room. Each time the phone rang, my heart stopped for a brief moment, but Mrs. Larson never called.

On Monday morning I solemnly completed my schoolwork and avoided the sneers and snooty faces that Dawn made at me from across the classroom. At noon, I could hardly touch my lunch. Although it was years before Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released The Waiting, it certainly was “the hardest part” of this punishment.

Finally, the hour arrived and Dawn and I made our way back to the classroom walking on opposite sides of the hallway.  Mrs. Larson was poised in the doorway, waiting to usher us in. She directed us to the table where we normally sat for group work, and instructed us to sit side-by-side. As I reluctantly sat next to my nemesis, I noticed two soup bowls of soapy water on the table and a zippered cosmetic case. Not wanting to prolong the suspense, I blurted out, “What are you going to make us do?”

Mrs. Larson suppressed a smile. “I’m not going to make you do anything,” she said. “I’m going to show you how to do something.”  Then she told us to place our fingers in the soapy water.  As our hands soaked in the sudsy warmth, she explained that Dawn and I were going to give one another a manicure. Step by step, she guided us through pushing one another’s cuticles gently back with an orange stick. Patiently, she showed us how to use an emery board to shape each other’s nails. When it was time to choose a polish, Dawn and I chose the same lovely pink color, and with painstaking neatness, each painted it on the other’s nails. As we waited for our polish to dry we found ourselves chatting, then laughing and making plans. When Mrs. Larson was sure that our nails were dry, she sent us out to enjoy the last few minutes of recess.

As simplistic as it was, Mrs. Larson’s punishment stuck with me. I learned far more from it than I would have from a lecture, from a spanking, or from a weekend spent grounded. Mrs. Larson didn’t just show me how to give a manicure.  With her gentle guidance, she showed me how to make a friend.

What lessons have you learned from punishment?

• • •

If you have writing chops and are interested in submitting a piece of writing for #TWITS: Teachers Who I Think Scored / Teachers Who I Think Sucked, write a specific memory about one teacher you had and explain how that person helped you (or really screwed things up for you), as well as the life lesson you took away from the interaction. Essays should be around 700-800 words.

Interested but have questions? Email me!

My information is under the Contact Me tab.

Last week: Jessica Buttram: “Hard Ass”

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop