The only time Trump or American politics ever came up was once at dinner and it was the Danish teachers who said that ‘one of their favorite things about being in China was that they didn’t have to hear about Trump or American politics every day.’ All the Americans/Canadians at the table agreed, drank to that, and for the rest of the two weeks we lived in a perfect, beautiful bubble.
Grace fuck, why would you invoke her name like that???
Okay, fine, gather round children, buckle up because we’re going on a bumpy ride back to everyone’s collective least favorite place: 7th grade.
Some background: I went to a very small Catholic school. One class per grade (we were the largest with 19 kids), everyone knew each other whether they wanted to or not. Despite basically every teacher and faculty members insistence that we were The Best And Most Special Class In The School and that everyone loved having us, the longstanding 7th grade teacher Mrs. O’Haradecided to retire in the summer of 2008, meaning the school had to find us a new teacher for the upcoming year. This would be like, the first new teacher in the school in a while, and as she was getting the ‘best class’, it was viewed as a Big Deal. Somewhere in like July or August we got a letter announcing Mrs. Stubel, and it came with a list of books to pick for the summer reading, and that was basically all the information we had.
So…the first day of class. She seems nice enough. Very…ditsy, I guess? It was very easy for her to get herself off topic while talking. She constantly paced around the room, never staying in one spot for longer than a second, complaining she has restless leg syndrome. Which like, I’m sure she did, but she was in the middle of introducing herself and then went on a 20 minute tangent about restless leg syndrome without anyone prompting her. It was almost like you could see her scattered thoughts flying around her head.
So anyone, she eventually gives somewhat of an introduction- she had only taught in public schools before, and kept worrying she ‘didn’t know’ how to teach in a Catholic school despite the entire class insisting literally nothing was different, you just teach the curriculum, twice a week we have religion class with Sister Mary King, that’s literally it (she still talked over us in worry), she told us about her kids, she told us about her obsession with Emily Dickinson, stuff like that.
And then she hands us this worksheet.
She’s like, “Oh, these are just some basic questions for you to answer! Just so I can get to know you guys better!” like in lieu of an icebreaker game, which is fine, but…the questions. The questions were all “What is your most haunting fear?”, “What is your deepest regret?”, “Have you ever experienced the pain of loss?”, “What was your worst injury?”, “What was your worst nightmare?”, all questions like that, and then on the back she wanted us to draw a gravestone and write out what we wanted our epitaph to be.
We were twelve year olds, mind you.
Oh my God and one girl missed the first day because of her grandmother’s funeral, so when she came the next day and saw what the teacher was insisting she do for homework, she almost had a panic attack? And the lady still made her do it? Literally who wants to think about death anymore at a time like that omfg.
Okay, so then we get to the summer reading book reports, right? Now, she had given a list of maybe, 20 books that you could pick from, read it, and then present an oral report on it. You had to have notecards and you had to be able to answer questions from the class at the end. All in all, I’ve had worse projects.
So, on this list, she apparently put Madeleine L’Engle’s entire book series on the list…only she did not make it known that this was a series and not multiple stand alone books, so when reports started up it caused mass-panic of kids trying to put together plot points and make connections on what the hell they had read.
I was the only kid in the class who had chosen to read “A Wrinkle In Time”, and that has since lead to a series of events that…really actually scares me, I’m still incredibly freaked out, I’m not going to get into it right now because it’ll take away from the current story, but just know that I’m not above wondering if it only happened because I read the book for Stubel.
Anyway, so like, I got through the report okay. The class asking questions about it was fine, but the teacher kept asking questions that didn’t make sense, like, at all. My friend Angie has always had super neat handwriting and Mrs. Stubel got like, obsessed with her notecards and asked if she could borrow them for something. When we got our grades back a few weeks later, Angie had points taken off for not having notecards.
And then her teaching just…didn’t happen. She’d never stay on a topic, she’d always get herself distracted! We were not learning anything. And like, this wasn’t a class of advanced smart kids that loved to learn. By all accounts we should’ve been thrilled. But it got out of hand. It got to points where we had to start teaching lessons to ourselves, asking teacher from other grades for help, always coming home in tears, complaining constantly to our parents and the principal because this woman wasn’t teaching us anything. There were two kids who asked her multiple times for extra help, and she told them each time to ‘talk to me after school’, but then she’d leave immediately after school so they wouldn’t be able to talk to her. They finally brought up the issue in the middle of class and she had a breakdown, yelling about how nobody ever thinks that maybe the teacher has a lot of work to do, and maybe she’s entitled to taking off early, but when we tried to argue she shouldn’t schedule meetings and then break them off in the name of relaxation, she stormed out of the room and tried to get the principal to give us detention. (Which, like, our school didn’t even do, and she was the only one in the wrong during this situation) We are still in September at this point, and already at least ten kids have parents considering transferring them to another school. (And remember, there was only 19 of us, and most of the class had been together since preschool, so that was a big deal).
Then, she starts coming in with all the weird bruises. All the Moms™ immediately started gossiping that her husband had to be beating her, and that’s why she was so screwy in the head. But the way she talked about her husband made it seem like he *might* be dead, and we actually did witness her fall and smack her head into a doorknob once, so no one really knew what to believe. (Also, I’m not trying to imply that abuse would make someone crazy or ‘damaged’ or anything, this is just what was being said. I think they were trying to turn her into a more sympathetic character, because if you feel sorry for her you don’t have to hate her for frustrating your kids so much, and Hate Is A Bad Emotion.)
Also…this woman and Emily Dickinson.
She talked about Emily Dickinson every chance she could get. None of us knew who Emily Dickinson really was before she got there and you could see in her mind it was a capitol offense. She found out the curriculum didn’t have room to cover her (because like, we had a text book), and was way too upset about it. She started reading her poems whenever she found the time (usually somewhere in history class), and always gave us very detailed accounts about her dressing up as Emily and reading her poetry at the library.
Now, two things to note here:
The library did not hire her to do this. She would literally just get in the mood, put on an Emily Dickinson costume that she made by herself, drive to different libraries, and just read poetry out loud to everyone there until someone eventually asked her to leave.
The way she described these events…her tone, the look on her face, her posture…you could just tell that she was getting some sort of sexual gratification out of this? Like dressing up as Emily Dickinson in public and reading her sad poems is really what got this lady’s jollies rocking? Got her all hot and bothered? Which is…a lot, but why would you tell a bunch of seventh graders about it holy shit. What about that sounds like a good idea! What about that turns you back on!
So anyway, we learned a lot about Emily Dickinson against our will.
One of the Davids™ was reading a book for pleasure- which shouldn’t have been a shocker, a lot of kids always had books on them, but Stubel got really interested and asked if she could borrow it from him. He was like ‘sure, after I finish it?’ but she took it that day. He asked her for it back for like five weeks straight.
Okay, so the school was trying some dorky thing to promote ~togetherness~ or some virtue or something, I don’t remember the specifics of why, but each class had to make a huge themed poster and hang it on the wall outside the classroom. Which was like, whatever, not the most thrilling project but at least it allowed us to be productive vs just sitting there as the teacher runs about the room rambling about her family vacation from four years ago. Mrs. Stubel decided we needed a quirky nickname and after like three days of deliberation we were christened “Stubel’s Special Strudels”!
(points for alliteration or whatever, but no one actually voted for that and what exactly do strudels have to do with Catholicism? It became a big running joke amongst the kids)
Also, in case you were wondering, she didn’t explain the assignment correctly to us- so every other class had like these beautiful, artistic, well-themed and put together posters, while ours was just…literally a bunch of shit thrown together on paper. Nothing fit with each other, it was literally embarrassing to look at.
But then…she wouldn’t drop the strudel thing. Like she kept bringing it up. She got really into strudels and would just tell us random shit about them. Finally, someone jokes that we should get strudels one day for a party (like instead of a pizza party), and she’s Freaking Out and On Board. She really wants to buy us strudels and have a breakfast party now. She talked about it for like two days straight.
So like… you know in school when you would have a pizza party, usually the teacher would buy it? That’s how they always happened in my experience (not counting the last day of 10th grade when some kid had pizza delivered to the school for lunch but it didn’t get there until math class lol). But especially in grade school? Like if it wasn’t a PTA made party that’s super organized, the school would buy the food, right? Right?
Yeah, so she was like, if this is happening you guys need to give me the money. Just give me the money and then I’ll pick them up on my way to work!! And after some arguing some kids are on board. Strudels should only cost a couple dollars right?
And she’s like, oh no, I’m gonna get them from this high end bakery near my house so it’ll be special, but they’re not cheap and it’ll be a big order! I’m gonna need like fifteen dollars from each of you!
And at this point I’m just like…lady. Come on.
But she keeps insisting. She’s not gonna go until every student in class pays up.
And I’m like…I’m poor. I don’t even like strudel. And some of the less-naïve kids are siding with me.
And then she pulls that “you guys are just spoiling all the fun for your classmates” shit, like the naïve kids who already paid up, so it gets to the point where we just gotta cave and give her the money.
(I ended up stealing it out of my Crazy Bitch Aunt’s wallet so it’s whatever, I guess.)
And then of course, shockingly enough, every morning she was met with “where are the strudels?” and every morning she went wide eyed, slapped her forehead and yelled in embarrassed horror “I totally forgot! Tomorrow, guys, I promise!”
Honestly, with how scatterbrained and confused she always was…like to this day I can’t tell you with 100% certainty whether she hustled us or was just actually forgetting about the damn pastries, I choose to lean towards the hustled us side because that’s just the type of people I’m used to, but if I found out it was innocent forgetfulness I wouldn’t exactly be surprised.
She couldn’t handle more than one person talking at a time. Like, we’d have break periods, or group work, or something and all the talking made her go wide-eyed and batty. She’d look overworked and anxious and would be darting around the room trying to do work or something but she couldn’t focus and she’d yell at anyone who tried to talk to her directly. I remember one time she was using this boys desk for something so he asked “where am I supposed to sit?” and she snapped “Sit on the ceiling for all I care!”. And this kid was the Class Clown™ , so he immediately grabbed a chair in one hand and started climbing the bookcase to try and reach the ceiling. She’s standing right next to this and doesn’t even notice. He got all four chair legs planted on the ceiling and was trying to somehow maneuver his way into the chair (I really don’t know what the plan was exactly- he was really tall and it was a small building, so I think he probably had the idea that if he can get his body upside down and in the chair, and stretch out his arms like a hand-stand to hold onto bookcase, he could arguably sit on the ceiling.) but he slipped. Crashed into my desk and the two desks next to me, knocked over the book case, broke the chair in half and hit the desks with enough force to knock them down lower. It was hilarious. Everyone was loosing their shit cracking up (he was fine) and it still took Stubel like five minutes to notice his lying out across the desks right in front of her eyes. She was pissed but how did she miss any of it in the first place? She was barely being helpful in whatever it was she was trying to do.
This was the year the Phillies were going to the World Series, and all the grades were having a Phillies Rally in the cafeteria so a news crew was coming to the school and each class was supposed to come up with fun little cheers for them to broadcast. Multiple cheer ideas were presented to her and she vetoed all of them, someone even suggested just singing the damn eagles theme song with replaced words and calling it a day but she vetoed that too, she was very adamant that she could come up with a cheer all by herself and it’ll be the best one (whoever had the best cheer was winning like an ice cream day or something idk). And then like…literally five minutes before the rally she just hands us signs with the letters and was like ‘we’re just gonna spell out Phillies it will be cute won’t it my strudels???’. We were the weakest class there, predictably. I think we lost to the kindergarteners. There might still be a video online of me yelling “i “ passionately at the top of my lungs. It was online bc our cheer was so bland the news crew cut it out of the broadcast.
I literally can’t say enough about how she never taught us anything. She’d be going on some tangent about how she doesn’t understand the science behind skiing, and I’d be like “Okay yes but please can you just tell me where Romania is on a map???” And she’d start fights whenever someone actually wanted to learn. It was so easy to get her angry but so hard for her to stay on topic. Kids started teaching the class themselves! Like seriously, she’d be rambling and one of us would just go up to the podium, open the teacher’s guide textbook and just start reading out loud and talking over her. By the time she noticed we’d be halfway through a lesson. And we understood it better than when she tried! You know something’s wrong when pre-teens are more qualified for a job than an adult who supposedly went to school for this.
We were in the church having run-throughs for our upcoming Confirmation and she almost set the church on fire…fifteen different times. In less than half an hour. How hard is it to hold a candle?
Okay, and here’s when stuff starts kicking up. It was October 28th, a Tuesday, and it was our last day of school that week because they were having parent-teacher conferences the rest of the week. So we were just hanging out, watching movies in class and reading (lord knows we weren’t learning), and Stubel calls me over to her desk.
So like, she had given everyone little bags with candy for Halloween, but I get up there and she hands me an extra one. And she’s like “Molly I know your birthday is tomorrow and I bought you a present but I left it on my coffee table this morning by accident! So just have the candy for now!”
And I’m like….”Ma’am I’m like, the sixth birthday this year. You didn’t give anyone else presents?”
And she goes “Oh, I know but this is a special secret surprise. I just know you’re gonna love it! Do you wanna stop by my house later this week to pick it up or should I just give it to you Monday after school?”
And like…In writing this sounds like a non-threatening exchange, and like, it was, but I felt so uncomfortable holy shit. I’m looking over my shoulder and shooting my friends SOS signals. Something about this felt so weird in my gut omfg. I told her thanks and I’d just see her Monday.
So we flash forward to Wednesday- my 13th birthday, the day the Phillies won the world series, and also the day my mother innocently strolled into the school for her meeting only to be met with screaming, the sound of heavy destruction, and the school secretary Mrs. Daily running at her in a panic, waving her arms and yelling “YOUR MEETING IS CANCELLED YOUR MEETING IS CANCELLED GET IN MY OFFICE NOW!”
So my poor mother, who thought she could handle this whole meeting in a few minutes and barely be an hour late for work, is now barricaded in the front office with the school secretary, as the noises from down the hall get louder and louder. The woman explains that they had gotten so many complaints about Mrs. Stubel that this morning, when she got to the school, the principal Sister Patricia called her in and said “Listen, we need you to be professional and still have the parent conferences, but we have to let you go. We just don’t think you fit in well here, and the kids need to come first and feel comfortable in their school.” and like, I’m paraphrasing because I wasn’t there, but we all know she was very polite and professional about it.
Mrs. Stubel, however…was not.
She flipped her chair and stormed out of the office, and locks herself in the seventh grade classroom. She started wrecking the shit out of that place, screaming obscenities and the top of her lungs, they had to call the cops on her! She was locked in there for almost an hour! And let me just give you a nice little list of everything she did in that classroom:
Smashed three windows.
Threw everything off her desk and carved swear words all over it.
Got cleaning fluid that she knew would damage the chalk boards, smeared it all over.
Cracked the chalk boards by repeatedly smashing chairs against them.
Wrote swear words all over the walls and on desks
Went into students desks, ripped up their books.
Stole my glasses. (which were in my desk bc I only used them in class at the time)
Threw some desks around.
Carved swear words into the boards. (there was so much carving I’m assuming she just had a knife on her person, which has to lead to the question, did she have a knife on her while she was in class with us?)
Physically ripped the hooks to hang backpacks on out of the wall.
Knocked the closet door off it’s hinges.
Ripped up all the books in the bookcases and threw their pages all around the room.
Wrote lewd phrases inside student’s desks.
Broke multiple chairs.
Used her podium as a battering ram against the wall that’s in front of where the backpacks go. (the wall won but Damage Was Inflicted)
Set a fire in the trash can.
When the principal and other teachers started trying to get in, she tossed her rolling chair at the door to scare them off.
She was screaming curse words at the top of her lungs the entire time, and cursing the school and the kids and the principal and the church in general, and the school building was small, so all the parents and the smaller children that had to come to the meetings (who were locked in their respective classrooms in fear) heard everything.
So much more? But it’s 4:30 in this morning and this list is already long.
So my mom is in the front office and deadass the
entire police force
shows up, running down the hallway to the classroom yelling at her to stop, and it takes a while for them to get her out holy shit. They knocked down the door and she tried to escape out of one of the broken windows! But they got her and dragged her out.
So of course, in such a small school with very involved parents this shit spread like wildfire. The entire town knew within the day. The poor principal called the newly retired old-seventh grade teacher and was like “So we…need some help” and the lady was like “I already heard I’ll be there Monday” omfg. I remember I got a text from one of my classmates saying “if your birthday wish was for us to be set free from the beast I love you” omfg.
So, we eventually go back to school on Monday and everyone’s buzzing. The principal has us go to the cafeteria and she ‘delicately’ explains the situation, and that the old teacher is coming out of retirement for us, the school has a restraining order against Mrs. Stubel now and that she’s sorry we had to deal with this mess. Our classroom had to go under some heavy reconstruction before we could be let back in there, so for like two weeks we alternated between the cafeteria and the preschooler’s classroom, we had no books or anything, just provided loose-leaf paper and pens. It was like, surreal, but everyone was just so happy to be rid of her and to be in the presence of a competent teacher omfg. We eventually were able to get back into our usual classroom.
It took a while for things to go completely back to normal, though. After the big spectacle she made, for weeks after she was fired we were all very scared of the possibility of Mrs. Stubel returning to the school with a gun in hand. It was always a topic we whispered about at lunch with wide eyes and shivers. Like…genuine nightmare scenario.
About two weeks after she was fired, a boy in the back of the classroom gasped loudly during SSR, and when we all looked at him, he whispered in anger “She never gave us our freakin’ strudels!”
About three months after she was fired, we were lined up at the door to go to Library when a few of us looked through the windows and saw something darting through the trees. It was fast and we couldn’t make anything out, so we let it drop. When the class and teacher returned half and hour later, the book she had borrowed months before from one of the boys was sitting on his desk. It was just laying there, the room was silent, nothing had been disturbed…but I have never seen a book look so threatening. People were freaking out. Someone kept insisting that she turned the book into a bomb. No one figure out how she got in the school, and no one could figure out how she got it on the right desk, as we had switched the seating arrangement since she had last been there.
A full six months after she had left, it was nearing the end of the school year and our class was dicking around during our last computer class. Someone found a website (that we weren’t allowed to be on) that pulls up any police records attached to whoever’s name you enter, so someone decided to search Mrs. Stubel as a joke. We ended up finding out she had like six DUI’s.
Aaaaand that’s the story of the horrendous teacher I had for two months in 7th grade. One of my favorite party stories but tbh she still haunts me™ .
Okay, so my high school had this program where seniors could leave school like a month and a half early and opt out of exams if they took on internships around the neighborhood, but not everyone wanted to/was eligible to do it. Back in like 2013, they had like 15 bored seniors stuck in the school, so the administration brought in this Professional Life Coach, left him in alone in a room with them for two hours to talk to them about like, self-esteem or some shit. All the kids were pulled out of their classes for this*, and later told the administration that they loved him, they really enjoyed the talk.
So, about a year later, we have a new principal. He’s supposed to set up an assembly for all the 11th and 12th graders, but he doesn’t know what to do. One of his coworkers mentions that there was a life coach that was a huge hit with the kids that didn’t do community study last year, so maybe he’d also be great for a larger audience. The principal basically thinks “okay, what the hell” and calls up and hires Jason C. Jean to come talk to the kids.
Now, it’s like, 10:30, maybe 11:00 in the morning, and two entire grades are getting shepherded to the main gymnasium, and no one wants to God damn be there. We ain’t got time for self esteem talks. We want to sleep. And this guy, watching us all drag our feet in and collapse into the bleachers was just like…offensively peppy. There’s a couple faculty members sitting behind him, the woman who suggested he be hired for this, the vice principals for the grades- but the principal himself kept getting calls so he was in and out the whole time.
Now, Mr. Jean was like…the chill “Just call me by my first name dude” history professor at college times 30. He was trying so fucking hard. I’m referring to him as ‘Mr. Jean’ in this story just to be disrespectful. So anyway, we all get in there, and he tells us right off the bat “You guys are totally allowed to be on your phones and laptops during this! I get it! It’s no problem, like really, I insist!” so while the faculty members are exchanging smiles that read ‘how do we kill that while respecting him’, all the kids are immediately pulling out their electronics and he’s starts his speech.
Now, again, I really wanna reiterate that he told us we could be on our phones- because when the news articles started coming out about this, I remember all these angry, annoying comments from old people like “Why the hell were the students on their phones in the first place! So disrespectful! These damn millennials and their social media!” like, they were completely ignoring the entire story and just focusing in on kids using the internet, and it Really Super Pissed Me Off, so. Again, we had permission for this (which also ended up being Mr. Jean’s fatal mistake).
So, he starts off this speech fairly normally, like ‘hi, I’m Jason, I’m a professional life coach and I wanna teach you kids about how to be The Best You!’ and like people were tuning him out and listening to varying degrees. Some kids (like myself) were kinda dozing off, and everyone was on twitter or facebook.
His approach to a self esteem speech seemed to be ‘let me tell you my entire life story for hours’ and like, at first I was like “I’m not really hearing this, I’m half dreaming right now” but the more I started making myself pay attention the more…bizarre and rambling his story got.
So like, for instance, he told us he drank a lot in high school. Like, a lot. But he didn’t use that as a ‘don’t drink or party too hard’ lesson, instead he was like “I was fourteen so I always called my parents to pick me up, and they weren’t mad because they knew it meant I could trust them. So remember, always tell your parents when you’re drinking!” and then it kinda got to a point where it sounded like he was encouraging partying and drinking and the like to the group of underage kids.
And then, he told us how he used to play baseball all the time when he was a kid, and at 16 reached a crossroads in his life where the Phillies wanted to draft him or he could go play football for Penn State. And he said he went with Penn State but later lost the scholarship for some reason and we’re like…really.
There was absolutely nothing coherent about anything he was saying- nothing that tied anything together, made a point, seemed like it had anything to do with an assembly on self esteem. He told us at one point he was making upwards of 7 million a year. He told us one time before college he was homeless. He told us he used to own a construction company and built his own branch of nightclubs himself, that he and his friend then ran. He told us he fought a shark and came out with no scars. He told us that he had less money now, because after surviving a work related accident- direct quote- “I fell almost 30 feet and I broke in half” - he decided to leave that industry and spend more time with his family.
So, yeah, I was pretty positive this was bullshit, but there were clearly kids in the room that were falling for it. But then he said something like…he and his friend got bored one day and started jarring up their own pasta sauce, and made a deal with wegmans or some store like that to start selling it, and now he has a pasta sauce empire. Like he spent 15 fucking minutes on this. The way he kept saying ‘pasta sauce’ was so annoying I was about to claw my ears out. But anyway, two girls in my grade wanted to find out what brand he was talking about, so they googled his name.
And then quietly gasped.
And then furiously started typing into their phones.
And remember- everyone, even though they were paying attention- was on twitter and facebook. All the sudden I see heads flying up and wide eyes and people whispering to each other. Mr. Jean doesn’t seem to notice the change and keeps rambling on, but I know something happened so I google him too and-
Okay so basically he’s 1) been arrested, 2) filed for bankruptcy like three times and 3) has been hailed as a ‘Swinger Guru’ by playboy.
EVERYONES SILENTLY FLIPPING OUT.
So by now, this is a fucking game- he still doesn’t notice anything wrong amongst the kids, so we’re all silently texting each other to fill each other in. Pulling up receipts. But still playing the part of politely intrigued audience members. The school faculty have no fucking idea what’s going on, until one of the students texts her mom, who happens to be the woman that convinced the principal to hire this guy. We see her check her phone, go wide-eyed, and she runs out of the fucking room presumably to either find the principal or hide in terror.
So Mr. Jean had been talking to random people intermittently throughout this speech, but we reach the ‘questions’ part of it. Everyone seems to silently agree that instead of just asking him anything outright, we should just see how good of a liar he was. So they’d be asking him stuff like ‘how much money did you make with ____ company’ and he’d give a ridiculously high number as people were sending each other reports of him filing for bankruptcy during that time. Or they asked him about his construction business which he said was great, and while he was talking about how great it was we were all reading his arrest report, from when a woman hired him to build her house, and he took her money and then like…just didn’t build anything. Wild. Someone asked him about his family and he’s extolling Christian virtues while we’re all on the website for his annual Swing Fest. People would ask him how he got certain jobs and he was making promises to hook kids up in interviews and shit. Everyone was loosing their God damn minds online and just barely holding it together in person. This man was so beyond full of shit- like, he was a God awful life coach but his dedication to lying was inspirational.
We eventually get to leave and everyone is yelling and cracking up and freaking out, all running to our classes to tell the teachers and the underclassmen everything, and the teachers are freaking out, alternating between horrified confusion and laughing hysterically. Before the school day even ended, someone had called a bunch of news stations. The principal was freaking out and denying he had anything to do with it, before calling some students to his office to see what exactly the kids had searched up on the guy…Because apparently teenagers can perform better background checks than school officials. It was all anyone could talk about for weeks.
A couple months after this, for my theater class’ showcase, I wrote and directed a skit called ‘Mason B. Mean’. It was a huge hit. The principal was in the audience. I’ve never seen a grown man look so dead inside. I made sure I was out of the room before he came up to congratulate the cast and everything. The next day, my theater teacher told me his only comment about the skit was a quiet, long-suffering “Why.” 😂😂
Annnnnnnnd that’s the time a Swinger Entrepreneur rambled on about pasta sauce and money in front of teenagers who knew how to use google for almost two hours.
I need the story of the Underground Shakespearian Ring
Okay, so the school I went to for 9th grade had this really bizarre grading setup that I still don’t understand- for some reason, instead of the teachers writing up and grading tests and exams and the like, all the work was sent to an unknown third party for them to grade??? It made no sense.
Now, for the most part, the school had decent teachers, and they would just teach the curriculum correctly and then you wouldn’t run into problems with the grading. My English teacher was not one of those teachers.
So like, she hated me pretty early on- she was my homeroom teacher and thought it was disrespectful that I slept in homeroom in the mornings (I was on sleeping pills and they never wore off completely until around 10am), I never had the vocab homework in on time (someone kept breaking into my locker and stealing my vocab books I had to buy a new one like five times), she thought it was “inherently pessimistic and stuck up” when she caught me reading a book called ‘Ninth Grade Slays’ (it was about vampires, not her?), and during our Greek Mythology unit I kept correcting her about the name pronunciations of the gods (she pronounced Hephaestus as Hepatitis one time holy shit).
Anyway, her feelings on me aside, her teaching skills were shoddy at best. But I had had way worse teachers, so had the rest of the class, and Greek myths are pretty straight-up in what’s going on, so no one really had trouble with the third-party tests.
Then we get to the Romeo and Juliet unit.
Now, fun fact: Shakespeare has always come pretty easily to me. Like, to the point where I sometimes forget/fail to understand that other people have an incredibly hard time translating his works. (I told this whole story to my friends in the school I went to for 10th/11th/12th grade and when the drama department put on ‘Midsummers Night Dream’ one year, more than half the cast tried to get me to translate their scripts and monologues for them lmao).
So, anyway, I’m just a girl, reading Romeo and Juliet and digging how it’s going…and then the teacher starts ‘translating’ it.
I cannot sift through all the bullshit this woman was spewing, but let’s just say that my favorite part is during Romeo’s spew about Rosaline, there’s one part where he says something like ‘with cupid’s arrow/she hath diane’s will’, and the teacher was taking this to mean Rosaline was a Super Lesbian who was breaking the law or something and running away with her lover Diane, which would be a rad storyline, sure, but like…I’m just raising my hand like “Um Ma’am, Diana is the Roman goddess of chastity. What Romeo meant is that she told him she’s sworn off love and is probably becoming a nun?” and this woman just got. So angry. Like, excuse me, you are a student, you’re here to learn, so you clearly don’t know anything about this (I read Romeo and Juliet for the first time in like preschool whoops). Anyway, she continues on making up her own plot to the play, and I…well I was basically Hermione Fucking Granger at this point I couldn’t just sit there and listen to someone be this wrong about something omfg??? She just got angrier and angrier and stopped calling on me after a while.
So for a couple lessons I’m just left to seethe quietly, but one day after class this girl I knew since grade school came up to me and was like “Could you…? Tell me what the hell we’re supposed to be learning?” and I didn’t even like her but I liked the validation of being someone’s Chosen Teacher so I wrote out a summary for her of everything we had covered so far so she could actually write a comprehendible essay for our homework that night.
But THEN the during the class when we got our essays back, she made a HUGE DEAL, like ‘oh Molly, it wasn’t bad enough that you’ve been failing this course material, now you have to drag your friends into it by trying to re-write the play?’ (l m a o). Like this bitch had literally tried to fight me on ‘Paris is the guy Juliet’s father wants her to marry’ and she didn’t even put a grade on my essay where I said the play only ended in tragedy because of how young and naïve the kids were, that if they had taken a breather and thought things through it probably would’ve been fine (it was a damn good essay and I stand by it). But anyway, she’s trying to make me out to my classmate’s as someone who’s trying to sabotage their education for laughs.
This backfired on her.
See, it dawned on people one by one, that she was only teaching the wrong material -> so they wouldn’t know the right material -> so when they eventually would take the exams they would only have her crazy answers -> which the third party graders wouldn’t know about -> everyone fails this course that’s like half the overall grade of the year.
Most students consider that a problem.
So suddenly the class has decided I’m the fucking Shakespeare Whisperer or something, and one by one start begging me for help. At first I was confused, because as I said, it’s so easy for me that I didn’t realize literally the entire class was lost out of their asses here. omfg. So I was really getting hassled here but I didn’t want my entire class to fail you know???? So I started meeting with people during study halls or texting them after school so they knew what was going on. And then they started telling people in this teacher’s other classes, including upperclassmen who were lost as fuck, so this was quickly spiraling out of control on my end, but overall people were really starting to understand the plays better!! So I was feeling really great.
But then, the teacher noticed that none of the homework getting handed in to her matched up with her crazy translations, and knew I was the sole person to blame (naturally). She literally tried to get me suspended over this, she went to the school’s disciplinarian!
Note: This guy, Mr. C, knew I was a God damn angel- my science class was off the charts, inappropriately awful, so every time one of our science teacher’s wanted to give the entire class detention, instead of calling Mr. C up to the class room as was the rule, they’d send me down to get him so he’d know to write up every student except for me. So when my English teacher dragged me in there he was looking her like “What on Earth could this girl have possibly done to piss you off?” 😂😂
And when she explained he looked at her for a very long moment, glanced at me with a signature ‘Office’ Reaction Face™ , turned back to her and was like “You want her suspended…for starting a study group?” and I was CHOKING.
So that really pissed her off and they started fighting and this was a very overworked and Done man so at some point he gave up and was like “I’m not suspending her but fine we can put a ban on the study group if you leave my office” omfg. So all the other students get notified and now they’re back to freaking out about the upcoming exams.
So like two days later, I’m at lunch, complaining about this to one of my friends who had a different English teacher and thus no problem, and I’m on this whole angry rant (Because I’m pissed, a bunch of kid’s grades are gonna get fucked up because of this! They just wanted to do well! I just wanted to help them!) and my friends staring at me quietly the whole time and when I finish I’m like “What?” and she’s just like “…Molly did you literally start up Dumbledore’s Army in our fucking school?” and I died on scene.
But then I started thinking about the comparison and I was like? You know fucking what? If Harry Potter can get those kids to pass their fucking DADA test I can help kids pass their fucking English Exam. Bring it the fuck on, Umbridge.
So I started Spreading The Word that anyone who needs help with their Shakespeare course can still get help, we just all need to meet up once to hash out the details. After some back and forth notes and deliberations, we ended up meeting in the school library, which was hilarious for a few reasons:
1) It was directly across the hall from this teacher’s classroom.
2) It was actually a converted janitors closet, way smaller than all the other classrooms, and there were like 50 people shoved in there; Not exactly an ideal Room of Requirement
3) The library carried no Shakespeare texts, but had the entire Harry Potter series on display to see when you first walked in
But anyway, despite the fact that we were literally three feet away from her door while we were doing this, our teacher was none the wiser of the meeting. We worked out a game plan- everyone writes out bullshit essays that align with what the teacher’s expecting. After she grades those and gives them back, they get them to me- slipping them in my locker, handing it to me discreetly in the halls or in another class, what have you. I then try to power through the dizzying amount of confusion radiating out of the teacher’s mouth and onto these papers, and more or less write out better translation of what was going on in whatever scene they covered, what the highlights they needed to know were, stuff like that, and then slip it back to them in similar discreet fashion (so the teacher/disciplinarian wouldn’t see me and get suspicious ; also because I was like 15 and wanted to feel like a super cool secret agent). They would then keep my copies and use them as study guides for the upcoming exams, where they would then answer all the questions correctly, the way the third party graders would mark correctly, and pass the exams + the bullshit essays would get them high marks in the teacher’s homework grades. The teacher never caught on to what was happening, just thought her students finally started paying attention to her.
All in all, it was a complicated mess, but it fucking worked. I don’t think anyone failed their exams that year. Will I ever be cooler? No. I think I fucking peaked when I was 15.
@sixpenceee This is a story for you, this literally just happened to me about an hour ago.
I got home from work today and I was singing in the bathroom while I was taking off my makeup. My boyfriend and I record covers of songs and I started to hear music from the living room so I stopped singing to listen. I was hearing a cover we did of Nutshell by Alice in Chains and I thought my voice sounded really good in this particular recording so after a few seconds when my boyfriend walked into the bathroom I asked him which specific audio he played because I liked it.
He looked at me really confused and asked “What do you mean?” I asked him again and he still looked baffled and said slowly “I was playing guitar… I could hear you singing. You sounded really good.” I just stared at him, slowly starting to realize what just transpired.
I thought my boyfriend was playing a recording because I could hear my own voice, or something like it. He thought I was singing from the bathroom for the same exact reason except I wasn’t singing. I don’t know who or what was. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this, although I am not particularly surprised as weird things seem to gravitate towards me.