Just kidding. . .not really the darkside. That phrase just has a ring to it, although some days in the classroom or school were dark for a lot of my students at different times. For a young, inexperienced schoolteacher who was about as confident as a tightrope walker without a net, there were dark times in the classroom as well.
Like for instance, the daily struggle to maintain classroom discipline so as not to invoke the disapproval of the two very strict male teachers on either side of me. The last thing I wanted was for them to talk about my lack of classroom discipline with the same disdain they held for other teachers. In those days, students were expected to remain quiet at all times, even in the science lab. I can’t even imagine trying to get students to whisper in the lab today. Times have certainly changed.
Anyway, there were a few students, a couple that I remember in particular, who had trouble keeping quiet during my lectures and scads of notes. Not only were these students fourteen and fifteen-year-old boys, but they unable to resist challenging a first-year teacher, especially a size 5 female in high heels.
I’ll never forget trying to start class while being conscious of a couple of boys in the middle of the room who were trying to conceal their laughter. I would give them the pointed teacher stare and they would settle a bit with smirks on their faces. As I began to write notes on the chalkboard–yes, CHALKboard–I finally discovered what they were snickering about.
Written on the board just above the chalk tray were the words, “Mrs. Coker has a fine a**.” Now what does one do with this information? I had stopped for a second while reading, but I then hurriedly reached for the eraser and made it disappear, ignoring the ripples of stifled laughter that swept the room behind me, my face burning with embarrassment.
|Me as a young teacher|
But the show must go on, they say, so I proceeded with my lesson, acting as if nothing had happened. Oh, those early days. With their tales of the darkside. Or rather, the backside. . .