In the fourth grade, I had my first male teacher ever, named Mr. Stevens. At that time, as I was still nine-years old; I thought he was huge. He towered over me with his broad shoulders and his small head. On his small head was a nice tuft of brown hair, shiny with gel. He always wore his blue-striped button up shirt, his tan pants, shiny brown loafers, and a leather belt. When I first walked into the classroom, I was terrified. He had a deep voice that was resonating and when he taught kindergarten, he had a reputation for being the cruelest, most terrifying teacher. Soon enough though, I realized how wrong my perception of him was. He was actually a very relaxed teacher, never forcing us to do any math. He would sometimes even skip math class after telling our class, “Sorry guys. I don’t know how to teach this. Maybe next time!” We would all holler and cheer as all of us hated math. Even with science he would say, “This stuff is stupid, you guys know this stuff. No science today!” All in all, I thought he was one of the best teachers I had ever had. We never did anything except for social studies and language arts, which I was just fine with. The only time when I wasn’t completely satisfied with him was when he would read books during reading time. Unlike my other teachers before, he read in a monotone voice. I was very disappointed to say the least, but I had assumed that it was because he was male. As he droned off in his deep voice, without giving the different character distinct voices, I would go half asleep. It was always an hour of extreme boredom. By the end of the year, I had been extremely excited to leave his class and become a fifth-grader as I had forgotten all of my arithmetic and had become quite an air-headed child.
Soon enough, I was in the fifth grade and was placed in Ms. Hedrick’s class. She had been my teacher in the second grade as well and I was thrilled. She was a petite teacher, with fiery red hair. She was from Florida and her southern accent fascinated me. She only wore tribal patterned dresses and would walk around the classroom with bare feet. She was a very cheerful teacher, always smiling with her twinkling white teeth. She read everything with enthusiasm and that year I was always super excited for “Story Time”. She had even bought a brand-new mustard yellow couch and brought it to the classroom just so our small class of thirteen could squish together as she read. Her voice went up and down as she read and her choice of book was interesting. It was very different from the year before. I loved her and the rest of the class did as well. She taught everything with the upmost enthusiasm and never yelled. The only time I saw her seeping with anger was when she had been horrifically embarrassed. One day, when my class and another had combined for a sex-ed lesson, she was wearing jeans that were sitting low on her waist. It was a normal sex-ed class. Everybody was very giggly and we could see that she was embarrassed. She dropped something on the floor and quickly bent down to reach it, but when she did, her very revealing underwear showed. When our class saw this we just sat there agape about what we should do. The class suddenly was filled with whispers about whether we should tell her or not. As if in silent agreement, we decided we would tell her after class in private that her underwear was showing.
Suddenly, a brave classmate of mine decided to tell her right in front of the class in an inappropriate way. “Haha! Your butt crack is showing!” he yelled. When Ms. Hedrick heard those five words, her face had gotten from embarrassed to horrifically annoyed to downright upset all in a second.
“Excuse me?” she had said. Her voice was on the verge of yelling and she had been trying to keep her tone down. Sensing her anger, he had clearly decided to just stay quiet. I, on the other hand with my friends, was on the verge of bursting out in laughter. Luckily, we had all successfully kept quiet, as she had quickly strutted out of the classroom. She came back thirty seconds later, head held high and pants pulled up. She continued on with her lesson and didn’t mention it, so we didn’t either.
A few months later, it was finally the last month of school. I had been very sad that month, as I had found out that Ms. Hedrick was moving to Germany. Although it was expected, as I had been going to international school my whole life, it was still an unhappy time. The classroom had started to be filled with boxes of all the classroom materials, being ready to be brought back to the storage room so a new teacher could call the classroom her home.
Something very interesting that had happened that month was that my friend and I had noticed that Mr. Stevens and Ms. Hedrick were involved. He had been coming to our classroom almost every recess and been lying on the coach moaning about how she shouldn’t leave and how much he’d miss her. My friends and I, being curious would always observe the two as we sat at our desks. What we noticed was that she would always just giggle, shake her head, and change the subject when he mentioned her move.
She obviously did end up moving, but the next year Mr. Stevens had moved to Germany too. This was highly unexpected as he had been teaching at my school for almost twenty years, but he did and it was all for Ms. Hedrick. They are now both married and have moved to Vietnam.
By: Tomomi Chen