My Teacher Turned Me Into a Martyr! (I Got Better)

Boy Martyr

My Real Memoir

During my fourth-grade year, my buddy Rory and I became obsessed with constructing tiny villages out of twigs under schoolyard trees. One particular miniature hamlet garnered rave reviews from multiple girls (mission accomplished!). In fact, our little village, now populated with disoriented ants and roly-polies, was dubbed “Adoraville” by none other than Melinda Aardman, the world’s most beautiful nine-year-old.

Unfortunately, it also attracted a strange nemesis: the formerly benign Mrs. Gibbons. I’d been in her class the year before and been one of her favorites. What had changed? I’ll never know.

On a singularly warm day, Mrs. G. decided to punish her misbehaving third graders by making them stay inside and eat their lunches in torturous silence. Before long, outsiders began to giggle and whisper in ghostly voices through the cracked-open doorway. Mrs. Gibbons raced out the door, but the five delinquents ran in six different directions, and she missed them all. So she sturm-und-dranged her way into Principal Booker’s office, grabbed him by the lapels, and dragged him out onto the campus.

Here’s the mysterious part: She headed straight for the idyllic little village Rory and I had built, and stomped on it, instantly reducing it to an archeological site. Then she pointed at me and said, “He’s the ringleader!”

I don’t think Principal Booker believed her. But she was one of his teachers and he had to stand behind her (safer there). Even after several of the real perps came forward, confessing their crimes and swearing I hadn’t been one of them, Mrs. Gibbons stuck to her claim that I had, in fact, been the chief wise guy, the Don himself!

So I spent the next month in recess purgatory, sitting on the sidewalk, disallowed even the most basic freedoms that great Americans like Thomas Jefferson and Mahatma Gandhi fought and died for.

I sat there day after day, stewing in my righteousness, slowly evolving into Mitch the Martyr. And then I had an epiphany: I liked being a martyr! Kids walked by, nodding in
admiration, covertly raising their fists in solidarity. And best of all, whenever Melinda 
Aardman passed (am I just imagining this?), her eyes moistened in adoring empathy!

But I didn’t just like being a martyr, I liked standing for something that mattered. Don’t get me wrong, I did plenty of dopey things as a kid, but one thing I’m proud of is that I stood up for what I believed in (sometimes). Seriously. I put myself in harm’s way more than once by placing myself between a bully and some poor cootie-bug-du-jour, shouting, “Leave him/her alone!” Surprisingly, I never got punched in the face. But even if I had it would have been worth it.

Especially if Melinda Aardman had been watching.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to My Teacher Turned Me Into a Martyr! (I Got Better)

  1. What an odd way for a teacher to behave. Makes you wonder what was going on with her.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. I had an art teacher do the same to me. He didn’t stomp on my village but banished me from his class. Someone threw something, and it hit me just as the guy turned around. I guess he thought the guy was retaliating for something I had thrown. Innocent or no I was facing an F since the teacher told me never to return. I sat by the door, and when the class was over, I tried to state my case. I did this for a week, and he finally gave in. It seems he caught the other kid throwing something and the teacher finally believed my story. What a nightmare. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Pingback: The Year I Became “The Clever Kid” | Mitch Teemley

  4. Great story, Mitch, I noticed you added Mahatma Gandhi to emphasize the lack of exaggeration! Fantastic!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. ejstoo says:

    Had a teacher that literally put a clamp on a student’s tongue. He freaked out as it seemed to bleed. That’s part of why I decided to be a teacher (didn’t work out no jobs at that time) but I didn’t want kids put through that. Nowadays they’d have put them in jail. Though I did get cranky when kids got trouble going, but that is the age…they like to push and test limits. Glad you survived. Though in my father’s day, they used to strap the kids on the hands for much smaller infractions. So, all in all, things progress slowly 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • ejstoo says:

      By the way, 4th Grade teacher. Generally talking could get a clothes pin on the tongue. This kid talked more than a few times. His name was Paul. True story, I don’t make this stuff up. She was my prime motivation to study teaching. She retired not long afterward.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Very cool Mitch. The title make me read this. I admire the ability to put your memories into word that does not sound boastful. I remain an avid reader of your post with the desire to remain silent. As always you offer a wonderful message for your readers. My hat is off for your talents.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. TEP336 says:

    You’re a better man than me, Mitch. There was never a point that was falsely accused. I pretty much did all that they accused me of. 😂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. This is a wonderful post!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Half a Soul says:

    I had to read this just to see if you’d say “newt”!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. murisopsis says:

    I hope that Melinda did notice! I always admired the kids that stuck up for those that were put upon… Of course I have no stories of “bad” teachers since both of mine were teachers at one point. My father refused to smile for the first half of the year (HS math, chemistry, physics) – he managed to put the fear into the class and everyone (including the football players) toed the line and did their work. I like to think they even learned something. My mother was a 1st grade teacher for eons – she retired when she said she had forgotten how to count beyond 20!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It’s such a treat to savor the gold you weave out of the angst of kid-ness.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I feel your pain, Mitch. It all went during my HS senior year; following a cafeteria food fight. With that day’s hot lunch trays loaded with over-boiled, war surplus peas and diced carrots; this had served as the ammo of choice. The irony being, as the only brown bagger at our table, I had not flung as much as one veggie. You should’ve heard my friends guffaw when the very first person the head cook pointed her finger at was moi! All day long the kids kidded me and I reveled in my newfound martyrdom. BTW, my accuser had to free me; due to lack of evidence!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jennie says:

    You know how much I love your stories… but not mean teachers.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ah, the martyr syndrome. I myself indulged in some self-righteous self-pity, going off and brooding (pouting) by myself. I think that phase passed when I realized it didn’t phase anyone but me. (I didn’t gain the following you did. 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: The Year My Conscience Awoke | Mitch Teemley

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