I had a second grade teacher named Ms. Mirana*. What I remember most about her was that she was a short, heavy-set woman with big eyes that bulged every time she scolded a student. Her voice was high-pitched and nasal and she wore long, pleated skirts, shiny nude tights and orthopedic shoes every day.
Oh, and one another thing. She didn’t like me. I have no proof of this and she never told me as much, but I felt it at the time and still believe it to this day.
One day, around Christmastime, we were making wreaths out of brown paper bags, ribbon and little accessories. Since Ms. Mirana was using a hot glue gun to stick the decorations on, she had each of us come up to her desk with our paper wreath. It was my turn to get my wreath glued and it just so happened that Chris, the class clown, made some kind of commotion behind me, which prompted me to look back quickly. Well…Ms. Mirana missed and got glue on her desk because, of course, I was the one who diverted her attention. So, naturally, I was the one who was responsible for her mistake. Her argument being that if I wouldn’t have looked back, she wouldn’t have been distracted. Never mind the kid who was jumping on his seat and and wearing his lunch on his head. “See what you made me do! I almost glued my own finger! You know better than to pay any attention to him!” As if that wasn’t enough, she instructed the class to sarcastically thank me. And so everyone, in unison, turned to me and shouted, “Thank you, Jillian!”
At an after-school program, a group of us kids and Ms. Mirana were playing some game where everyone holds hands in a circle and whoever is chosen has to weave their way in and out of the circle until the singing stops (do we know what this game is called?). It was my turn to weave. I ducked under kids’ hands, in and out and in and out. Finally I stopped and looked up, stilll crouching on the ground. For a couple of seconds, I had no idea where I was. I was surrounded by a large sheet of pale pink flowers and…oh no…underwear! Old lady underwear! Bloomers! I was under Ms. Mirana’s pink flower dress. The wind was so strong that day and her long skirt was so wide and flowy that I somehow ended up underneath it without even realizing. “Get out of there!” she yelled, glaring at me as if I somehow planned it. I was mortified. And I never played that game again.
Ms. Mirana had a special reading group in her class called “The Reading Rainbow.” It was exclusively for the best readers in class and students who generally did well on Spelling and Langauge Arts tests, both of which I excelled at and yet I wasn’t a part of it. They would read and discuss stories in a small group in the middle of the classroom, while the rest of us did quiet penmanship practice at our desks. They would have such lively and interesting discussions! How I longed to be reading those same stories and be a part of their conversation. When I asked Ms. Mirana to be invited into The Reading Rainbow, she told me she wasn’t accepting any new students. SHUT. DOWN.
Several years later, I encountered her again after school (I stayed in the same parochial school from 1st to 8th grade). I was talking with a friend of mine about how I loved Buffy and Dawson’s Creek, but didn’t particularly care for 7th Heaven. If you don’t aready know 7th Heaven was a show about a Protestant minister and his family. Very wholesome, very Full House meets Degrassi. I told my friend, “I don’t really like 7th Heaven.” Ms. Mirana, who happened to be
listening eavesdropping, yelled out, “Of course you don’t like 7th Heaven! Because it’s about good people and family values, that’s why!” Then she stormed off.
As an adult, I’ve learned to just laugh it off. It’s kinda’ funny! She was a grumpy old lady after all. But it’s certainly something that stands out in my mind, as these were the first few embarassing encounters I had as a kid that I can recall.
My question to you is: ever have a teacher that didn’t like you?