Well, great, nice to see you too

I brought my dad Arby’s for lunch today, and while I was in the drive-thru the kid at the window checked my debit card and then announced that I had been her math teacher. I didn’t recognize her, both because it had legitimately been years since I’d seen her and, well, the mask— but she threw me for a loop with what she said next.

“Yeah, you hated me.”

She’d told me her name already, but I hadn’t been able to properly process it, and frankly in the moment I didn’t remember a damn thing about her– which actually means that there’s no chance that I actually did hate her, as I assure you I have forgotten none of those kids, and in fact they haunt my dreams still. And, honestly, it really bothers me that that was the first thing she thought to say to me– because regardless of whether I did hate her or not, her perception that I did is more than bad enough.

It’s several hours later now, and I’ve managed to put together who she is. And I didn’t hate her, but I suppose I can understand why she thought I did in the moment. She is, in fact, the cousin of one of the perhaps three students who I might use the word “hate” to describe my feelings about. And I don’t remember her being a big problem on her own, but her cousin (the “I got a baby by his brother” girl in this post, in fact) was an utter Goddamned nightmare and the cousin dragged this girl into her shit a lot. So she was around a fair amount for Angry Me, particularly since the two of them sat together on the bus a lot and the bus driver actually did hate both of them, to the degree where she put it in a referral once.

(These kids will never know how much time and energy I spent defending the two of them against this bus driver, by the way, at one point going over the driver’s head to central office about the way she treated them, but that’s a whole other story that I’m not telling right now.)

Anyway. I’m more or less over it by now, since I’ve managed to put together who she was, but the whole conversation had me fucked up all afternoon.

Just curious: how many of you had a teacher who you thought hated you at the time? Any that you thought hated you when you were in class with them but don’t think that any longer?

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

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