Thursday, April 3, 2008

School Days

One reason I wanted to participate in x365 was that I was hoping it would trigger some memories for another project I’m working on that I will tell you about very soon!

It has! Well, that and the news story that a group of third graders plotted an attack on their teacher.

Either these kids are attending Ted Bundy Elementary School, watching too many episodes of Forensic Files or something else is going on there.

I’m not exactly buying that this supposed third grade Manson family is the entire story. Let me tell you why.

Ahhhh, third grade. Pigtails and toothless grins. Swing sets, monkey bars, Four Square and Mrs. Topping. The third grade teacher.

She was a horrible woman. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s the God’s honest truth.

Play along with me here. Close your eyes and envision a Wickedest Witch of The West face. She didn’t have green skin, but it was lumpy and bumpy with crooked nose. Now go ahead and include some warts and moles. Ok, got it? She was a very large woman, both tall and wide.

Alright, now put your vision into an ill-fitting purple polyester dress and sensible shoes. That was Mrs. Topping.

Worse than her scary appearance, she was also mentally threatening. In her teacher’s closet, she kept a guillotine with a severed head in a box. Of course, they were fake and I’m no teacher, but I’m assuming these aren’t “must have” educational materials sold in teacher’s stores across America.

If you did anything that Mrs. Topping didn’t like, (which was pretty much everything), she would threaten to put you in the closet with the head or mention that she might just cut your head off so the next kid could learn from your mistake. She criticized your physical appearance, said you were weak if you had to use the restroom and would tear up work you completed right in your face, forcing you to do it all over again while sitting under her desk.

There was a whole lot more than readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic going on in her class.

She said eventually we would all learn to behave. Either that, or she would just deplete our neighborhood of third graders, whichever came first. That’s one way to get a pension, I guess.

Third grade is where I had my first panic attack and the smell of pencil shavings, chalk and that orange sawdust stuff they throw on top of vomit can still make me a little anxious. Do they still use that stuff?

I wasn’t the only one afraid of Mrs. Topping, though. We all were. My classmate, Cameron would throw up from nerves every single day. Poor Julie who sat next to Cameron would then throw up because Cameron threw up. After a while, you’d think the janitor would have just left the bag of orange stuff in our classroom, but he didn’t.

Switch classes? Not an option. She was the only third grade teacher at the school.

I would come home from school sick from fear almost every day and my mom would go to battle with the evil Mrs. Topping. For some reason, the principal always gave Mrs. Topping the A+. Perhaps just didn’t want to deal with her, either and end up with her head in a box. I don’t know, but despite my mom’s complaints and kids having to be sedated to attend class, Mrs. Topping never changed.

Being young, my classmates and I decided that cheating, stealing, lying, wetting your pants rather than having to ask to be excused to the bathroom and committing miscellaneous crimes, like forgery, were a better option than facing her much feared wrath.

And yes, we, a typical group of third graders found anywhere in America, plotted to overturn the wicked Mrs. Topping.

I won’t say we went as far as the group of third graders in the news by assembling a serial killer kit worthy of John Wayne Gacy’s car trunk, nor did we assign specific jobs like covering windows to anyone, but did we think of staging accidents? We surely did.

Mrs. Topping kept this box of teaching supplies on the top shelf of another cabinet in the classroom and every morning she would stand on a chair to retrieve it.

Instead of playing Red Rover at recess, we would often plot about putting Vaseline on the chair so she would slip and crack her head open on the desk and die.

We talked of pushing her out windows and tripping her while she was holding scissors and we all agreed that if anything ever happened to Mrs. Topping in the classroom, none of us would get help for her.

This is not normal thinking for third graders, but Mrs. Topping was no normal third grade teacher, either.

My classmates and I had bonded out of fear and our thoughts took a turn for the worse because we were helpless. We were not a third grade Manson family and I haven’t seen any of my former classmates making headline news as adults. Believe me, that’s the only class I can say that I remember all of the kids from, too.

I’m not going to be surprised if in the future, we hear some shocking stories of things that may have gone on in that classroom or that the teacher’s name was Mrs. Topping.


Crystal said...

Oooh JessiCat had a young start.

Seriously though, what an evil teacher! Why do people like that teach, and why do people LET them?

Dustin said...

You mean this ISN'T normal for a third grade teacher?

My third grade teacher (my first one...we ended up moving to another town and changing schools sometime into the school year [no, not because of her]) was pretty evil as well! I don't remember all of the horrific details, but I do remember getting a drink from the water fountain one day and my mouth was burning afterward. I tried to tell her, but she told me to sit down and shut up. My mother could probably elaborate on her more, cuz she tried to reason with this...being. I'm thinking there's a good chance they are the same person - just different names and likely different locations. Your description was almost dead on...and the entire store made me think about my third grade teacher...*shudder*

Anonymous said...

My girl is in third grade and so far the teachers have been great, but it seems to be the start of the "Mean Girls" phenomenon. Yikes! said...

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