EVEN BEFORE I get into why, most people are pretty shocked when I say I want to be a teacher.
I donâ€™t know why. Iâ€™d think that being just as immature as a high school kid lets them relate to me easier.
To get to the point, when I filled out the paperwork for the credential program here at Fresno State â€” and at the very last minute â€” there was a sort of questionnaire. One question asked about inspirational figures in oneâ€™s life.
I figure most applicants thank their parents, their friends and any God they might worship for supporting them, or helping them figure out what they want to waste their lives doing.
Because what these applicants want to do is teach, I figure a favorite teacher gets thrown in the mix for good measure.
I didnâ€™t bother with that nonsense.
Sure, I had good teachers. Even though I grew up in a school system the PTA wouldnâ€™t stop complaining about, I had plenty.
Even more, even if I didnâ€™t like the subject â€” entry-level chemistry was harrowing, to say the least â€” I liked my teachers well enough.
Except for one. She was bad.
For my senior year, she tried teaching Advanced Placement English. Tried.
Because fifth-period band took up the only other time the class was offered, all my friends were stuck in her sixth period.
To my eternal regret, so was I.
I donâ€™t recall reading a book the first semester â€” only a little bit of poetry, punctuated with vocabulary and worksheets from an eighth-grade textbook.
We read â€œPride and Prejudiceâ€? in the second semester. Though I hated every moment of it â€” preferring â€œJane Eyreâ€? in its entirety â€” at least we did something.
In celebration we watched the movie version.
I mightâ€™ve enjoyed the ordeal if this five-plus-hour BBC miniseries version didnâ€™t take up two precious weeks of our block schedule â€“ two precious weeks, I might add, which immediately preceded the Big Test.
If anyone passed, it was by either their own merits or simple retention from the previous yearâ€™s AP English â€” back when we had a teacher who taught.
She was absent from class once, and left an assignment for the substitute. It involved coloring in â€œA Knightâ€™s Tale â€” Illustrated.â€? With crayons, no less.
I vented my frustration the only way I knew how.
I colored outside the lines.
It is this phenomenally bad teacher who inspires me, as much or more than a phenomenal calculus teacher, someone who would bicker with pundits in the local paper and on whose behalf I was first published in the paper.
I may end up like my high school band teacher. For all I know, I may take pages from my U.S. History teacherâ€™s tattered green notebook, but not as many as I will from my senior English teacher.
To wit, once I take the pages from her book I will burn them.
I will then dump the ashes into a coffee pot, and then dump the whole shebang off a very high cliff. Just like in â€œThe Big Lebowski,â€? except that Iâ€™ll make sure the wind is blowing out to sea.
She inspires me, if only because I know that holding a teaching position will prevent a bad teacher like her from securing the same position.
Even if I turn out to be a bad teacher, I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll be so laughably bad. My first rule for the classroom?