Friday, January 27, 2017


For most of my life, I have been misunderstood.  I am loud and demonstrative at work.  There is a big, burly, LOUD male teacher  who has chastised *me* about being loud (talk about the pot calling the kettle black).  He doesn't get it; as a male who is larger than any of his students, he is imposing and can not begin to understand my point of view.

In high school I was extremely quiet, as my peers would remember.  Going to an all-women's college brought me out of my shell.  By the time I began teaching high school in 1988, I had decided that no one would run over me.  I commanded authority from day one, no matter how big the students were.  I really have few specific memories from  that time at Ruffin High, but I remember many of the students.  This week I was reminiscing on Facebook, and the dialogue I had with one of them is below.

I find it amusing she said I was "mean as a whip."  Many would call it that; I was strict.  I don't actually think she meant "mean."  She did follow it up with saying I "sincerely took an interest" in them.  I have no recollection of having given her a bear when she was in the hospital.  I do remember before the students came my first year, I was making my classroom library of paperback books I had bought at the Ladson Flea Market for .25 each.  I made library check out cards for the back of each one.  I expected my students to read and read the classics.  I recall another teacher coming in my room and asking, "Why are you doing that?  They won't read."  I was undeterred.  We may have struggled, but we made it through Great Expectations,  Romeo and Juliet, and MacBeth, "A Doll's House," and "Death of a Salesman," among so many other classics.  I was naive perhaps.  I didn't know what a Title One school was.  I simply expected them to do, so we wrote research papers.  I may or may not have violated copyright laws with vocabulary pages from a book *my* English teacher had used with my class.  But, by darn, my students were going to learn the same words I did.

Then, I lose it when I hear, again on FB, from one of these "boys" who said he owes his vast vocabulary to me.  I lose it when one of my stars revealed he had no indoor plumbing until middle school and that I didn't have to know back then because it might have colored my view of him.

These are the sweetest memories.  

I almost went English bc my high school English teacher was the
Ginger Williams Garner Thank you! I can't remember back that far to know whether I was good or not. Today, people either love me or hate me
LikeReply1January 25 at 7:53amEdited
Darrmell Williams You cared. Mean as a whip but you sincerely took an interest in us. We had fun. And I still have the teddy bear you gave me when I was in the hospital. Lol
Ginger Williams Garner Darrmell Williams , I dont remember the bear! And I have mellowed a tiny bit...tiny!