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The apology

I used to teach French to kindergarten through 4th grade. None of them knew my name, I was just The French Lady. This was my teaching technique:

“You guys won’t remember anything I teach you. ”

“Oh yeah? We will so!”

“Nope, you won’t. I’ll prove it to you.  If you remember these four words, you get a point. If you forget them, I get a point.”      Then I made the scoreboard.

me you guys scoreThis generally put them into a feeding frenzy. If any classmate had dared to forget a word they would have lynched him.  Every point I got took up the whole board. I made their  points  tiny dots on the board. If they started to win, I would say,

“You know, I really hate kids.”

“Oh yeah? Then why are you here teaching kids? You don’t hate us. You LOVE us!”

I first heard my dad say this to my daughter when she was four years old, and I was appalled.

“Why should I give you lunch? I don’t even like you.”    She didn’t even bother to look up from her book.

” Yes you do Pop Pop. You love  me lots and lots.”

So I tried it.  The kids don’t believe me either.

One day a first grade class got very rowdy.( I’m sure I had nothing to do with that at all)  The teacher was mortified and made every child make me a card with an apology.  One card said this:

im sorry but thas all

Thas  it.  Thas all I’m getting.

Ten years later a student stayed after class to talk to me and mentioned where she had gone to grammar school. It was where I taught ten years ago. And then it hit me. “Did you have really blonde hair and a ponytail?”

It was her.  And I still had the card.  Which I of course brought to class and told this story to her mortification every chance I got.


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