January 28, 2003

A Thunderous, Disgusting Woman My

A Thunderous, Disgusting Woman

My recent post about being the first to sit in the Naughty Chair in kindergarten got me thinking about other elementary school anecdotes, and no elementary school anecdote rings quite as loud as the year I spent huddled in fear of my 5th grade teacher, Emma B.

Emma B. was a hateful, thunderous, disgusting woman who had no business roaming the halls of elementary children. I'm convinced she hated all people, but she held a special place in her black heart for children. She tormented kids both physically and mentally, and there wasn't one student in the entire school who didn't jump in their seats when Emma would shout "Can it!" and her voice would carry to five classrooms down the hall.

An unhygienic mass of blobby flesh, Emma B. apparently did everything she could to be both horrifying to behold and to endure. An immense woman, she consistently wore sheer white shirts that clearly outlined her collection of filthy bras. Her hair was always drawn tightly behind her head in a bun held in place with a greasy piece of leather and wooden pin. The lack of any bangs clearly showed off a massive mole, as round as a thumb tack, protruding from the direct center of her forehead. It was if she were determined to look as ugly and ghastly as possible. I hated going up to her desk because she perpetually stank of unchecked body odor and breath polluted with hastily ingested cigarettes and cups upon cups of coffee.

More than her terrifying appearance was her reputation for humiliating and hurting students. I first experienced the wrath of Emma in third grade when I was poking the kid in front of me in the lunch line. Suddenly, my tiny wrist was burning with pain as Emma dug her fingernails deep into my flesh and flung me out of the line and against the wall. I can't remember what she yelled at me, but I remember inhaling her horrid breath and trying to wiggle my wrist free from her clawlike grasp, prompting her to dig her nails in further while gnashing her fingers back and forth. She drew blood before finally flinging me back in line, and I shook with fear for what seemed like forever.

I dreaded my 5th grade year, knowing that I had drawn Emma B. as my homeroom teacher. I wanted to tell my parents about how horrible she was, and how afraid I was of her, but there was a part of me, and of all students really, that believed Emma had to be there for a reason. Who were we, mere students, to question the ways of the adults? We kept quiet and just did our best not to piss Emma off. Of course, that was impossible, because Emma was always pissed off. She hated her life, and she took it out on the students.

My 5th grade year was hell, really. There's no other way to explain living each and every school day in total fear of getting into trouble, even if you weren't causing trouble. Emma would find excuses to torment. Brian, wno sat right next to me, wasn't sure where the construction paper was when he was instructed to go get some for each student. Emma responded by yanking him out of his desk and pushing him towards the cupboards. Brian was small, and with Emma's punishing strength, he looked like a rag doll. He handed out the construction paper trembling, tears dribbling from his cheeks. He was terrified, and his shoulder had been strained.

For my part, I once got caught talking during class (I know, it's shocking), and Emma promptly drew a circle on the blackboard, pitched me out of my desk in Emma B. style, and then biffed me in the back of my head so my nose squashed hard against the chalkboard in the direct center of the circle. She warned that, if my nose moved from the circle, unless she said it was okay, I wouldn't like what would happen. I would have stood there for an entire week if it meant not enduring additional Emma torment. I didn't feel ridiculous, or shamed. I was simply interested in self-preservation at that point.

The only time Emma was ever even remotely sweet was when the principal would sit in on a class. Then she was sickeningly nice, praising students and exercising patience unheard of otherwise. We all wanted to shout, "This isn't the real Emma! The real Emma is trying to kill us!"

What the students didn't know was that the administration was meticulously building a case against Emma, which had to be thorough because the evil beast had tenure. How does someone like that get tenure? Like "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop," the world may never know.

I was in 7th or 8th grade, well out of the clutches of Emma, by the time the administration was ready to act. They had their case built, and all they needed was an incident to get the ball rolling. Emma B. obliged by tossing around one of the most vocal young female students Emma ever made the mistake of mauling. The student yowled and howled to parents and teachers alike, and the administration swooped in on Emma like a pack of angry dogs. They had her, and they knew they had her, but she still had to have a formal hearing and all that jazz.

And my father was selected by the teacher's union to defend her. It was a cruel twist of fate that the woman I believed to be synonymous with "complete bitch" was allowed inside my house, while my father, who hated his assigned task, was forced to work with her on a defense. Justice was swift, because Emma really had no defense, and she was sent packing. The last I heard, she was working in a clothing store.

Emma, wherever you are, I hope you're facing a chalk circle, preferably one that was drawn around you at a crime scene.

Posted by Ryan at January 28, 2003 12:12 PM

Party Pocker - Poker

Posted by: Party Pocker at October 19, 2004 06:10 AM
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