Trains of Thought
The Great Escape – Intensive Journal Writing
My eighth grade English teacher
used to give every single one of my papers a D-.
That was as close as he could get to failing every thing I handed in- he couldn’t do that with tests if I got the answers correct, but I lost points on those papers too because my A’s looked like O’s and my I’s looked like L’s.
You get the picture.
So my essays and themes and short stories didn’t get failed because I at least handed something in and turned up for class everyday, he told me.
He also did try to get me into remedial English classes, but the only thing that kept him from doing that was that I tested at College level for reading comprehension. He was convinced I had cheated and I had to retake the tests again with two monitors watching me the entire time.
So I got a D on my final report card and on the last day of school he made fun of my essay in front of the other class by reading it out loud with the words butchered because he pronounced the words with the a’s and o’s and l’s and t’s with the letters that he thought he saw.
Did anyone laugh? Not really and did I get upset? No. Because the paper he was making fun of had just won me tickets to see the Seattle Sonics play a game and he knew it.
A few years after I graduated from high school I heard my former English teacher’s son had died in mountain climbing accident.
I tried to feel sorry for my teacher because it was the right thing to do, but you have guessed correctly if you assumed I could careless about the pain and loss he felt.
Our words and how we use them come with a price and a cost and that’s why we should choose, very carefully how we use them- as an English teacher he should have knows that better then anyone.