Writing Challenges

A Tale of Two Teachers

Day 3 of 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing and today’s prompt is and the next thing I knew. I should have just stopped at “and the next thing I knew I had agreed to be in a writing challenge”

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Back in primary school, we spent our days split between two teachers. The mornings were spent with Miss English and the afternoons with Madame Louise, who taught us math in french. Miss English was a bitch who would flip your desk upside down for no other reason than to humiliate you when you couldn’t find your homework. And by ‘you’ I mean ‘me’.

Madame Louise was like a doe and I looked forward to her classes even tough I was terrible at math. Her classes were peaceful and she was patient with everyone.

Back across the hall under the tyrannical hell of Miss English, we did our best to make it through class without crossing her. Make a wrong move and you’d be sent to the Gulag, breaking rocks with your bare hands, or worse, she’d make you stand next to her desk while she ‘taught’ the class and took out her personal issues on a roomful of 10 year olds.

Most classes under Miss English would start with her slamming the door as hard as she could. It was her only way of getting us to shut up after we’d lost respect for her and the grating sound of her voice had lost its potency.

Madame Louise’s classes weren’t like that at all. We always listened to her and I guess she had a way with us because she never resorted to embarrassing tactics, like child labor or personal tantrums.

Until one day.

That day when we were all hyper from an extended lunch hour we didn’t hear Madame Louise enter the room. Once, twice, three times she asked us to be quiet. Maybe it was more. No one was listening anyway. Finally, she lost it and slammed the door as hard as she could

We snapped to attention.

All eyes on Madame Louise as she glares at us, hands on hips.

All eyes on the clock over the door.

It comes loose.

And the next thing I knew, hell, the next thing any of us knew, Madame Louise is flat on her back with a dented clock by her side.

There was a brief moment where everyone was silent and just stared at our teacher lying there on the cold floor before the difference between boys and girls was revealed:

The girls all ran up to Madame Louise to make sure she was ok.

All of the boys put their heads in their desks and laughed. Well, all of the boys except for Billy C. who bolted to the front of the class, grabbed the clock, and tore down the hall with it, bringing it straight to the janitor’s office. Hey, classes need working clocks, or else you’d never know when the lesson was over.

Madame Louise was OK. She was a little shaky but soldiered on and finished the lesson, occasionally making mistakes and blaming the clock for her memory loss.

Many years later the story still comes up when reminiscing with old friends:

“She really got clocked by a clock, didn’t she?”
“Yep. She really did.”

ibm metal school clock

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