i remember my mom driving to whitin intermediate school in late july in our silver van, with various neighborhood kids as soon as we heard that they posted the next school year's class assignments in the window of the lobby. we'd rush to the window so we could find out who was in our homeroom and who the teacher was. that seems like a really weird and archaic system now that i think about it, but it was so cool when in middle school. in 7th grade i remember being so excited about my class; our homeroom teacher was TBA! mysterious! an unknown! she was probably young and pretty and wanted a new friend, a friend who was skinny and tiny and could tell her all about magical horses and wales and mythology and native americans and star trek! and the i was excited because my best friend kaitlin was in my homeroom class, again, as were some of the popular boys who i emulated and loved, and who, unlike the popular girls, were never terribly mean to me. not to my face anyway. i think we were called the advanced class, the honors and AP track of middle school. we were also the only homeroom that had all our classes together. for someone as socially ignorant as i was, this an incredibly good thing.
my teacher turned out to be young and pretty and generally sweet; although kind of dumb. it surprises me that i really knew which of my teachers were fucking idiots at that point, but i did. i remember my spelling teacher who wouldn't even read what lesson the words you'd written were for, she'd just walk around and put a check mark on it if it looked right. it took the class about a week to figure that out. i think we collectively did maybe 1/3 of the spelling assignments total that year, and just faked and recycled assignments for the rest. great training for the real world. and then later in the year, she baked chicken for the medieval festival on cookie sheets (which don't have an edge to prevent the fat from dripping off onto the coils of the oven) and started a fire. i had even told her we had to use real baking pans but she had ignored me. my history teacher in 7th grade, mr. allega, who was a very nice guy but whose primary teaching philsophy seemed to be centered around the proper way to gluestick drawings on construction paper. but the next year, in 8th grade, we had a history teacher who i still admire. he was from the catholic private school system and he DID NOT fuck around. you had to get up really early in the morning to pull one over on that guy. but he was such a great, if scary, teacher. he helped confirm my love for history, and drove home how much good teaching is really the teacher performing for the students. he was also the first teacher i remember being genuinely funny, although he could be caustic and more than a little cruel. he also liked me, which was nice.
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