The Sixth Grade Villain

The Sixth Grade Villain
Image provided by
Brad Flickinger @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/56155476@N08/

Up to now, all of my memoirs in this blog have been about happy and/or adventurous times in my past. As it is with all people, I have memories that are disappointing, cruel, and even ill-fated without a happy ending. Such is life. No one should ever assume that life turns out just the way he or she wants it because expectations like that are pure fantasy. I’m certain there is a life coach out there who is saying I am wrong, that you can get whatever you expect out of life. All I can say to that person is, “If that’s your belief, you haven’t experienced enough of life yet.”

As a young child, I had very few disappointments. This was probably due to the fact that my mother made sure to keep my expectations, assumptions and dreams within the realms of reality. There weren’t a lot of sad tears during those years. (This, however, doesn’t mean there weren’t numerous tears of anger.)

There was one incident during the school year when I was eleven years old when the tears were a mixture of woe, embarrassment, and intense wrath. There has been only one other time in my life so far, when I have felt so dishonored and outraged. Because I’m trying to do these memories in somewhat of a chronological order, I leave this other story for a later day.

Mr. Everheart was probably in his middle thirties when I was in his sixth grade homeroom class. He was a tall good-looking man with dark auburn hair. All students in the fifth and sixth grade had him for art class. Despite his handsome physical attributes and his abilities in art, I don’t think any of these kids were especially fond of him. He was just another elementary school teacher.

Although Mr. Everheart’s so-called forte was art, his homeroom class had him for English and Social Studies as well. How this was figured out was a mystery to us, the students, but we accepted it without question nonetheless.

As I look back on that time in my life, I now realize that the English class was minimal at best in comparison to what I had the year before with Mrs. Worthsmith. Each Monday Mr. Everheart would verbally give us our spelling words for the week and allow time for us to look up the words we weren’t sure how to spell. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday he would quiz us on those words trying to instill the importance of studying them at home in preparation for the actual test on Friday.

My mom, like Mrs. Worthsmith, was a lover of English. This meant that I got drilled on those spelling words every single night from Monday to Thursday. The result was that I always got 100% on my spelling tests. Even though I wasn’t fond of the drill my mom put me through, I never fretted about how I would do on Friday’s test.

One Friday I was home because of illness. Although I didn’t get sick often, when I did, putting Kleenex in my pocket and sending me to school just the same wasn’t an option. I remember being feverish until about mid-day on Sunday that weekend. To make sure I was ready for the make-up spelling test that I was bound to be given the next day, my mom drilled me on my list of words several times during that Sunday afternoon and evening.

As I walked the three blocks to school that next day, I had a spring in my step because I knew for certain that I would get 100% on the test. When I walked into Mr. Everheart’s classroom, I stopped at his desk and handed him my permission of absence slip I had gotten from the school office. He looked at me and asked, “Who gave this to you?”

I was taken back. He should know who gave it to me. I answered, “The lady in the office downstairs.”

His reply was, “We’ll see about this. Go sit down.”

As soon as the other kids were in their seats and the last bell had rung, Mr. Everheart assigned one of the girls, Karen, to give me the spelling test outside in the hall while he went ahead and started the lesson for Social Studies.

Karen and I trotted out to the hall. I sat on the floor with my pencil and paper ready to start writing down each word. Karen obliged and said each word, giving me a few seconds to write them down. The entire process took just over five minutes. I walked back into the room after I was done and handed Mr. Everheart my paper.

As I started to walk to my seat, he called me back. “You cheated, didn’t you! I heard you tell Karen that you’d give her candy if she’d let you see the list.”

I was shocked. The tears came tumbling out of my eyes and my lips trembled.

“What do you have to say for yourself?’ he bellowed.

I was speechless.

Then, from the back of the room, Mike yelled, “Mr. Everheart, you didn’t hear her say anything. Glynis always gets 100% on the spelling tests. You’re lying.”

Dana, who sat right in front of Mike piped in. “You were talking when Karen and Glynis were out there. You didn’t hear anything.” To Karen she asked, “Did she cheat?”

Karen looked at Mr. Everheart and said, “No. She just wrote down the words I gave her. That’s it.”

The entire class stared at Mr. Everheart. Some had smirks on their faces. Others were frowning. Still others had a questioning look on their faces.

The Social Studies class was discontinued for the day and Mr. Everheart’s students, including me, were sent outside to the playground for an early recess.

The rest of the day was a blur for me. I wasn’t one of the most admired kids so it was shocking to have Mike and Dana stand up for me seeing that they were so popular. Of course, it was miraculous that they had such nerve to begin with.

For some unknown reason, I never did tell my mom about the tragedy I had endured that day. I could have easily gotten Mr.. Everheart fired. I do remember that I never wanted to talk about the incident again, which I’m sure had some bearing on my silence until now. The humility still haunts me at times.

Advertisements

9 Replies to “The Sixth Grade Villain”

  1. Some teachers should not be in the profession. I had a couple of teachers like that in school. Glad it turned into a positive experience for you though with the other students sticking up for you. 🙂

    Like

    1. I think many people have more than their share of ‘bad’ teachers. I feel that I was fortunate because I grew up in what was a new school district at the time. The better teachers were the ones getting most of the teaching jobs at the schools within those perimeters. Most kids don’t get that.

      Like

  2. The worst thing a teacher can ever do is humiliate a student. It takes such a small person to do such a thing. I’m sure I did so unintentionally a few times, but never on purpose. It’s great that the other students came to your defense.

    Like

    1. A slip of the tongue is one thing. Judging from what you write in your blog, I can’t even imagine you being hurtful to anyone. Because you are a teacher, I’m relatively sure that you have known a couple of co-works like Mr. Everheart. It’s sad that they keep on popping up in the school system but I guess there has to be bad apples in every bunch.

      The reaction from those kids was totally unexpected. It changed my perception of what being popular is.

      Like

  3. Oh Glynis, what a nasty person Mr. Everhart was. It sounds like he and Mr. Willard (my 6th grade teacher in ‘The Bad Apple) might have been cut from the same cloth. It’s so unusual for young kids to get the courage to speak up to an authority figure. Mike’s initiative to challenge his lie gave your other classmates the courage to chime in. You must have felt so vindicated and cared for when your friends stood up for you.

    Like

    1. What’s so incredible is Mike and Dana weren’t friends of mine. I was a wallflower, shy and timid. Mike and Dana were popular. The crowd that hovered around them during recess were kids just slightly less popular than they were. I was never asked to join them on the playground and, in some cases, shunned instead. It changed a little after that terrible day but not enough so that I thought of them as friends. I did connect with a couple of the girls in that crowd though once I got over the intentional shock of that day.

      Like

    1. I’m not sure if there was all that much respect for him before the incident. I know that the climate in that classroom got kind of icy after that. Most of the kids talked about the math teacher, Mr Fay; the science teacher, Mr. Haye; and the Gym teacher, Mr Jorden.The kids could tell that these three men loved their jobs and love teaching kids.

      Like

Please comment on this post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s