Students in a Pinch

Most teachers mean well. Other teachers are just, well, mean.

Recently a substitute teacher in Amanda, Ohio, decided four kindergartners were talking too much. So teacher Ruth closed the kids’ mouths. . . with spring-loaded clothespins.

The good news is that Ruth will never again teach in that school district. The bad news is that she may start a gang in your city. Be on the lookout for subway graffiti featuring abstract-looking clothespins.

Back when I attended elementary and junior high school, some teachers felt comfortable inflicting physical pain to squelch our occasional mouthiness and disobedience.

“Randy,” the teacher whom I shall call Mr. Hurt said to me one day, “did I just overhear you refer to me as a ‘genetically- and mentally-deficient Cro-Magnum Man?’”

“Well, uh, I might have been talking about someone else who fits that description . . .”

At this point, as was his custom, Mr. Hurt placed his hand on my shoulder and squeezed with all his might until my eyes approached the size of hard-boiled eggs. This really hit a nerve with me, which later study revealed to be the brachial plexus. As a result of the teacher’s actions, I simply did not have the nerve to raise my hand and ask Mr. Hurt to stop torturing me.

Now, some teachers originally believed to have hailed from planet Nastiness turned out to be quite human after all. Students simply learned how to handle them.

For example, let’s say Miss Droning spots you asleep at your desk. She strolls over and makes a clever comment such as, “I hope I’m not speaking too loudly for you, _________.”

Rather than return the teacher’s witticism with a wry comment of your own, take the high road. Try something like, “Miss Droning, you have filled my mind with so many rich insights that my brain simply could not retain anything further. As a result, it went into recovery mode. Thank you, Miss Droning, for sharing with me your vast and overwhelming knowledge.”

Can you picture Miss Droning’s response to this complimentary approach? So can I, so you’d better plan right now on getting to bed earlier tonight so you’ll be able to stay awake in class. That way you don’t have to witness the ugly sight of steam blasting from Miss Droning’s ears again tomorrow.

Maybe the best thing to do is admit the following:

1. Teachers are underpaid and overworked.
2. Some teachers are better than others.
3. All of the above applies to their students as well.

So you are in this thing together. Probably better try to bring out the best in all of your teachers, lousy or otherwise. It’s likely that most of them are taking that approach with you.

And in the unlikely event that you actually do have a certified monster teacher, well, Jesus Himself said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). Yours just happens to be an educator with a bad attitude.

But take heart! This too shall pass away! Wait a minute, I didn’t mean it that way . . .

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Students in a Pinch

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