When I heard our topic this rotation would be Hot for Teacher, I immediately knew I wanted to talk about Mrs. Wara. (Not like that! Elevate your minds for a sec and try to keep up with the class.)
My senior year in high school, I was perfectly content to coast into graduation. I took classes like peer counseling, drama, choir, and unscheduled (yep, it’s a real thing). I signed up for any extracurricular activity that involved a field trip. I apparently was on the Academic Team, which I have no recollection of but a friend insists is true. And I often missed classes due to *fake cough* illness or the burning need to go back to bed. To say I was a slacker is like saying the sun’s kinda warm.
Then came Senior Economics, my first class with Mrs. Wara.
As I already stated, I was dedicated to blowing off the year, so the details of our first encounter are a bit fuzzy. But in my mind, it went something like this.
Me: (Walking into Senior Econ) La la la. I feel some cramps coming on. I wonder if I can get Becky’s mom to pick me then I can go home and reread Les Misérables. “Hi Mrs. Wara. I’m Carey Blackmon. It is so wonderful to meet you. My, that is a lovely sweater set you’re wearing.”
Mrs. W: “I know who you are Blackmon. You are a slacker. You don’t have what it takes to pass my class. You are going to fail and then I am going to enjoy giving you the grade you deserve. (insert evil laugh as she wipes the drool from her snout) I eat kids like you for breakfast.” *end scene*
Did I mention that in my version, she always looks like The Teacher from the Black Lagoon?
|BTW - This is a great series!|
I was outraged! How dare Mrs. Wara judge, and thereby limit, my potential? Who did she think she was? More importantly, who did she think I was? I’d show her!!! So I made it my semester goal to teach my teacher a lesson. My need for vindication drove me to apply myself with ninja-like devotion. No other time in my years of public education, did I work so hard, or attend so regularly.
Out of Mrs. Wara’s numerous Econ classes that semester, I got the third highest grade. And my A+ + + + + + + felt like sweet revenge. But to my surprise, Mrs. Wara seemed to genuinely enjoy giving me the grade I deserved—the grade I had earned.
To this day, I take pride in that accomplishment above all other k-12 academic achievements. For years, I also took pride in proving Mrs. Wara wrong. But as I matured, I began to see it a bit differently. Maybe her nefarious plan was never about me proving anything to her, but proving something to myself. And boy, did she read me like a dime store novel.
If Mrs. Wara had approached me with an inspiring speech about living up to my potential, I would’ve dismissed her. If she’d flat out told me I needed to try harder, I’d have done less. But her shrewd reverse psychology motivated me to push myself to a new level.
So thank you, Mrs. Wara, for motivating me in the best way possible and for teaching me a lesson that continues to inspire me to new feats of professional accomplishment! I am grateful.
YOUR TURN: Take a moment to honor a teacher who taught you a life lesson.