Confessions of a teacher's pet

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copyright istockphoto.com/drbimages

As I sat at a tiny table, in a chair not meant for an adult-sized person, I realized why I'm so happy about the start of school. Sure, I think Dillon is ready. At least he says he's ready. Sure, once Blake starts preschool in September, I'll have real, human office hours a few hours each day. But during Kindergarten orientation, as I soaked up the ambiance of Dillon's classroom, I remembered how much I love school. Love it. In fact, to some, I may have been a bit of nerd. Or a goody-goody. Or whatever.

In first grade, my gorgeous, supermodel teacher, Mrs. Shoaf, had a system to keep kids in line. Those who misbehaved were called to the front of the class and ordered to lean over her desk. And then whack! whack! whack! Three times on the bum with a library book.

I never got whacked on the bum. I was too busy trying not to strike out.

You see, Mrs. Shoaf had a bulletin board that said, "Don't strike out!" Each student had a paper baseball, with three paper bats sticking out the top. If you were "bad," Mrs. Shoaf removed one of your bats. "That's a strike!" she'd say.

I never, ever, ever got a strike. Until one day, the entire class was acting up. "All right, class!" she warned. "If you don't stop talking, I'm striking everyone out!"

I sat up straight and zipped my lips, in an effort to maintain the integrity of my perfectly aligned bats, spreading out of my baseball like a fan. But the class kept talking, and I watched in horror as Mrs. Shoaf walked to the bulletin board and removed every single bat from every single baseball. As she reached for my bats, the scene shifted to slow motion.

The rest of the afternoon, I barely breathed. She continued to teach, and every so often, she walked to the bulletin board and restored a few bats. But by the time the bell rang, she hadn't returned my third bat. I left school heartbroken and my good girl batting average, shattered.

By third grade, I loosened up a bit. It was during the smelly sticker craze, and my best friend and I got caught cheating. The class was grading each other's papers, and as the teacher called out the correct answers, Meg and I made the appropriate changes. Because if you scored a 100, you got a scratch 'n sniff sticker. And those scratch 'n sniff stickers will make you crazy.

A kid busted us and shouted, "Mrs. King! Meg and Angie are changing each other's answers!"

Mrs. Kind told us to stay behind and sent the rest of the class to the library. By that time, Meg and I were blubbering all over ourselves. Luckily for us, Mrs. King realized her disappointment was punishment enough, and she let us go with a scolding and a hug.

I managed to walk the straight and narrow until my senior year of high school, when I got in-school suspension for cutting class. It was the last class of the day, and we had a substitute teacher. She assigned us busy work, so a few of us got permission to go to the library. Instead, we walked passed the library, out the back door and to our cars. As I drove off, I rolled down the windows, feeling the exhilarating bliss of freedom.

The next day, I sat in the principal's office. My defense? "I called my mom as soon as I got home," I pleaded.

"Well, you should have called her before you left school," the principal countered. Good point.

So there you have it, I'm a rebel in disguise. I'm surprised I'm not in jail right now. So how's your record? Would you be the one to bail me out? Or share a cell with me?