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1st grade

I was one of those antsy, "precocious" kids ... antsy enough that I'm thankful my parents kept me off medication (except for when my hay fever kicked in).

But back in 1st grade was some of the worst of it. We had two teachers at the elementary school, and they split the class between them. One was good, the other one had the ominous name of Mrs. Payne, and she took a disliking to me quick.

One time she got so fed up she used her sweater to tie me to the chair because I wouldn't stay seated. She also yelled at me to shut up when I tried to talk her out of it. Granted, my objections were probably just, "No! NOOOO!" I don't remember that part.

The other teacher was really nice and REALLY patient with me. If I was staring out the window at a tree I wished I was climbing, I'd get a gentle reminder to pay attention. When our classroom got a computer (one of those TI keyboard-to-TV jobs) I brought a game from home and she let me play after finishing quizzes early.

Which is how I, at age 6, ended up on the evening news in the middle of a report on the "experiment" of using computer in the classroom. I figure I was some newsanchor's perfect video clip. They go walking through the school seeing it sitting there in most of the classrooms and BAM, there's one with a kid using it. I was so engrossed in what I was doing that when the tap on the shoulder came, I was shocked to find PEOPLE STARING AT ME WITH BRIGHT LIGHTS AND A CAMERA.

My mom works at the school as the preschool teacher, and was involved in the PTA when I was going through there. All this came to mind, because the nice teacher recently passed on. I'd run into her several times since I was out of that school, and she'd always been happy to see me. I mentioned how I liked Mrs. Austin a lot more than Mrs. Payne and the chair incident, and my mom said, "I wish you would have told me that sooner, because she just couldn't handle kids and we had to get rid of her a couple years later."

I've had a history of shutting up about anything either publicly or privately humiliating. But I got off to an early start.

Never too late to change, eh?

- Pookah

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January 2011
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