Tag Archives: teacher

So long, So-Yeon

First of all, thank you Rochelle for choosing my picture this week. The advantage of having your own picture as the prompt is that you know the complete context. Just as Thoreau says in the quote that Rochelle always includes, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see” and in this picture, I see the lines of Korean middle school students streaming up the long drive to the middle school just out of frame (you can see the lights of the soccer field in the background.)

In a departure from my normal fantastical imaginings, this story is almost 100% true in every detail. Dangerous stuff, since it almost brought me to tears several times while writing it. But such is life. (By the way, click on the picture to see where it was taken.)

copyright David Stewart

copyright David Stewart

So long, So-Yeon

I gave them hugs in the classroom but we hug again at the door.

“We’ll miss you, teacher.”

“Don’t go.”

“I don’t want to,” I say, and mean it.

“I’ll write you every day.” I smile; it’s well meant, but won’t happen.

Last is So-yeon. She’s been that smiling, encouraging face in class ever since Grade 3. Now she’s in middle school and so grown up.

“I’ll never forget you,” she says. I wonder if it’s true, knowing it doesn’t matter.

Finally I wave and turn away, to another country and another school, leaving part of my heart in Wanju.

 


Nobbly Chopsticks – Friday Fictioneers

There is a certain creative freedom when it comes to writing. I am aware that the word “nobbly” is not strictly a word. However, when I saw this picture, the words “nobbly chopsticks” came into my head, with that spelling too. The word means something that is bent or horribly contorted, as you will see.

copyright John Nixon

copyright John Nixon

Nobbly Chopsticks

“Nobbly chopsticks are a way of life!” the teacher shouted. The students were seated in the cafeteria, each with a pair of chopsticks as straight as a question mark after an earthquake. “You make the most of what you’ve been given. If Life gives you one leg, you make do! If Life gives you nobbly chopsticks . . . ?”

“You make do,” the students echoed. They started eating, or attempted to. Only one in five could even grasp the noodles at all.

The teacher spied one boy holding the bowl, slurping the broth. “Hey you! What are you doing?”

“Life gave me hands . . .”


Super Teacher

super teacher

           “I always wanted to be a super teacher, but I never wanted to be Super Teacher, you know? That’s not why I got into the profession. I became a teacher to mold young minds and impact lives, not to be some sort of educational freak show.

           “It all started on a field trip. We were touring a high-energy laboratory, which in retrospect was a poor choice for a Grade 2 class. Anyway, as you know from the news, there was that malfunction and of course I jumped in front to save my kids and got hit with that experimental beam. The next thing I knew, I could fly and lift things with my mind.

           “It was great at first. I didn’t have to drive to work and if I forgot some paperwork at home, I could fly home and get it and be back before the next period started. I could tap students on the shoulder with my powers from the front of the room and collect homework without standing up. It was awesome.

           “The rest started innocently enough. First, my students wanted me to pick them up: all of them at the same time. Why not, right? It was fun until the other classes wanted in on it too. The whole school would line up and I spent my lunch breaks throwing kids up into the stratosphere and flying them over to finish their geography assignments on France, in France. Suddenly I’m the cool teacher and all the other teachers are jealous of me and I don’t have time to finish my grading and lesson plans.

           “And then the school board gets in on it. They want me to go around to different schools, talking about drug awareness and staying in school, whatever that has to do with superpowers. And of course, they insisted that every presentation end with me crushing a car with my bare hands. I got into teaching to show students how to use the power of their minds, not their bodies. When I brought up that objection, the superintendent said it was okay to crush the car with my mental powers. That wasn’t what I’d meant.

           “Anyway, I finally got my class back, but it’s not the same. The students just want to see me use my powers, the paparazzi are buzzing around the school at all hours and now there is that super-villain in the southwest that everyone keeps hinting I should go deal with. I just feel like I’m losing focus. What should I do, doc?”

           The psychologist straightened up. “Well,” he said. “I’ve never said this to a patient before, but if you want my advice, stop whining and suck it up. You can fly at Mach 10, lift 100 tons with your mind and you’re making millions of dollars in endorsements. I think you can find some way of adjusting. Oh, it looks like our hour is up. That will be 40,000 dollars, please.”


The Rust Queen – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Sandra Crook

copyright Sandra Crook

The Rust Queen

My favorite teacher was Miss Ferrous, but we just called her Rusty. She had a tattoo that said “Rust Queen” on her arm.

We once took a class trip to the junkyard. We shot rats with a shotgun and Rusty showed us how thermite could burn through an engine block. We collected all the cool-looking scraps and dragged them back to school, where Rusty showed us how to weld. I made a scrap-racer and named it The Rust Queen, after her.

Even today, it sits on my porch, a tribute to the best kindergarten teacher a boy could ever have.




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