Inspired by | Teen Ink

Inspired by

September 19, 2022
By Anonymous

Mrs.K, a force to be reckoned with, always found a way to exploit our weaknesses, no matter how embarrassing they might have felt. She had a black belt in karate and used her fierce attitude to intimidate students who went against her rules. Her short, red hair reflected her uptight personality and strict teaching style. While the overtowering papers on her desk might have suggested that her teaching style was weak, it was a different ball game when you were in her class. She would create these inconceivable expectations, intimidating us to read and annotate 20 pages a night and exploit those who failed to meet her expectations; mind you, this was in 7th grade.

While other teachers kept the windows shut during winter, Mrs.K would keep them wide open and never let us close them, even by half an inch. When we didn't pay attention in class, it usually resulted in being stared down until we felt chills going down our spine or the loud bang of her infamous steel ruler. It resulted in a two-page essay due at the end of the period reflecting on how we failed her as students. Even though I was intimidated by her, as I believe every other student was, I had the motivation to demonstrate how good of a student I was. Whenever I felt unsure about what I was reading or a specific grammar problem I got stuck on, I wouldn't dwell on it; I would go up to her straight away and ask her for help. It was intimidating to get out of my squeaky chair and walk over to her desk, with every step feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. But when I saw her smile for the first time, all my feelings for her washed away. It was like she became a whole new person; I saw that as a unique opportunity to prove to her that I would do anything to get that A.

The little patience she had for us students were shown through the innocent steel ruler, listening to the screeching ruler whenever anyone said a single word over her. This ruler looked like it belonged to someone born in the 1800s, the rust that would fall off every time she would bang the ruler looked like moldy, red snowflakes slowly falling. Then, one day, a student thought it would be hilarious to scare Mrs.K with fake spiders on her desk, granted she was deathly afraid of spiders. So, when she entered the classroom and walked towards her overtowering paper-filled desk, she found a spider and screamed so loud that Australia could hear her; we all started laughing. Though what we didn't know was that Mrs.K was already on her last nerve, and she banged her steel ruler on her desk so hard that it broke in half, her eyes looked like it was the fiery bits of hell, and at that moment we knew that we might end up dead in that classroom. But, when we thought the world was going to end, she started to laugh uncontrollably; I can still feel the sense of relief that flowed through my body today. That was when I knew she was no ordinary teacher but one I respected the most.

Mrs.K created an environment where she allowed students to make their own mistakes and learn not to give up. Her teaching style helped me prepare for high school, even from the beginning of the pandemic, when many students, including myself, didn't have the motivation to finish the school year. And while not all of my memories of her are bright, they are lessons that I can relate to in high school. Whenever I am stuck on a problem or in a rut from writing an essay, I recollect what I did to finish those assignments and use those techniques to help me finish; whether it was listening to music or writing down my thoughts, it always helped. If it weren't for those idealistic standards, I wouldn't be the student I am today.

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