Why Did I Have to Get the Crazy Teacher?

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The Teacher I Had... Twice... Was Much Meaner Looking.Is it possible to learn more from a bad teacher than a good one?

I ask this question because I had a teacher of whom I wasn’t very fond (translation- couldn’t stand). And for some strange reason I think about her a lot.

A little weird? Maybe. A lot weird? Possibly.

Okay, it’s completely weird. I would like an explanation for this, so I can move on with my life.

This all started in a small town in 1973. I was young and naïve. I was about to have my first experience dealing with the man (aka- the school district). And I lost. Badly.

Actually, it was more than a loss. It was my Waterloo (suddenly my junior high social studies background comes in handy). The best way to describe it was an all out crushing of both mind and spirit.

You see, I cruised through kindergarten (half day… old school style) and first grade. No problems. No worries.

I loved going to school (by loved, I mean tolerated… recess was fun and lunch was always at least interesting). I was ready to move on to second grade. After all, a young man entering his prime pre-pubescent years needs a challenge.

My whole life was ahead of me.

In my permanent file were report cards full of S+’s (S pluses…). Things were going smoothly and I had expectations of a bright future.

My parents took a relatively happy, normal 7 year old boy to school registration. They left with a beaten and broken shell of what used to be a happy boy who had been filled with hopes and dreams.

What happened that morning haunts me to this very day.

Shortly after arriving at registration on that beautiful summer morning in 1973, I evidently angered a school employee. To this day, I don’t know what I could have possibly done, but it must have been bad.

The district decided to stick it to me. They gave me the crazy teacher. The “man” was keeping me down.

We had all heard the stories. After all, bad news travels fast on the 1st/Kindergarten playground.

The older kids warned us with their tales of horror about the crazy teacher.

When I say the teacher was crazy, I mean certifiably nuts. Unless of course, she is reading this; then I mean crazy as in beautiful, charming, helpful, kind, and dedicated (you see, I am very busy and all of my time is already filled with the soccer/homeschooling stalkers).

She wasn’t just a little crazy. Rumor had it that the Marines wouldn’t let her join because she was too mean.

I was 7. But I was about to grow up quickly.

A few days into school I quickly recognized this woman shouldn’t be allowed around children, puppies, or house plants. Any living thing was in danger if it got within 6 blocks of her bubble of crazy.

We always heard that when her dog ran away people used to protect it instead of return it. Unfortunately, she was crazy enough to know this and would eventually find it and drag it back home. That poor dog probably thought he was in the mob; just when he thought he was out, she pulled him back in.

If you think that is bad, word on the playground was that while most people talked to their houseplants, she screamed at hers.

I am pretty sure the principal was afraid of her. I never saw them together, which leads me to believe he was avoiding her at all costs.

The strangest thing about her? I don’t know what she did to make me think she was so crazy.

I still can’t point to one thing that led me to believe she was crazy. It was just a sense I had. And a creepy look in her eyes. And she had a twitch. A scary one.

The woman had the ability to sit at her desk and grade papers, while staring straight ahead with one eye so she could make sure the class didn’t do anything fun.

She could sense we were about to do something bad, minutes before we even thought about the idea. It was freaky.

This was the longest 9 months of my life. I felt like I was locked up in prison for a crime I didn’t commit.

This was a tough life lesson, but little did I know that things would eventually take a turn for the worse.

My 3rd grade year began and things went smoothly. For a day. On one of the first recesses of the year, I said something to my buddy about being glad we were done with Mrs. Crazy.

A dull, lifeless look came over him. Then he said it. These words still ring in my head 35 years later.

“She’s teaching 5th grade now.” After taking this information in and fighting off a very nauseas, cold, sweaty feeling I said, “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”

I had two good years (3rd and 4th grade) filled with dread about having her again.

And I did. 5th grade was a nightmare that can best be described as 2nd grade: Part II.

I couldn’t stand her the first time nor the second time and yet I think about her and the expectations she had in place for her students all of the time.

Why is it that it takes 35 years to realize that some of the meanest teachers you had were also some of the best?

Consequently I don’t feel badly for the parents who come in to my office to complain about their child having the meanest teacher in the school.

I mean, really, their kid doesn’t have Mrs. Crazy like I did…TWICE!

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21 Responses to “Why Did I Have to Get the Crazy Teacher?”

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    on Jul 19th, 2009
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    [...] In elementary school, I remember one of my teachers telling us that people would soon get bored with calculators and at that point they would disappear (how is that working out for you Mrs. Crazy?) [...]

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  10. Jay Baird
    on Nov 11th, 2009
    @ 10:41 am


    One of our associate superintendents gave us your site by district-wide message. Your site has been informative and entertaining. I am an alternative school principal, and I have trouble finding peers with whom to share stories and ideas. They may be in the Witness Protection Program or too busy dodging stereotypes to be in the open. Anyhow, thank you for your effort, and know that your audience is growing.

    Desoto County, Mississippi

  11. SP
    on Nov 23rd, 2009
    @ 11:26 pm

    I love this blog. Thanks for the great read.

  12. sharon
    on Feb 11th, 2010
    @ 9:20 am

    If we would take the time to get to know the crazy teachers, we may find they know more than we give them credit for. They can see a lot more than those of us who only live in the present. Why is it, we only remember the crazies??? Could it be, they made us work and think!

  13. T.J.
    on Feb 15th, 2010
    @ 10:49 am

    This blog cracks me up! As a teacher working in the school district where I went to school, I now work with the CRAZIES!! Come to find out that they aren’t crazy at all….they are actually normal human beings… GO FIGURE! I now enjoy looking back at the tactics they used and how as a student they were viewed as scary. Funny enough I use some of them myself these days!

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  15. Kayla Schoneveld
    on Nov 11th, 2010
    @ 8:48 pm


    I am a student from Trinity Christian College and my professor suggested us to read this blog. I have definitely been in the situation where I have had a teacher that every student feared. However, because you learned so much from this teacher, doesn’t that suggest that maybe some wrong assumptions were made about the teacher? If students understood that she was a good teacher, they may not have assumptions of her being so-called “crazy”. I am in my 3rd year of college and preparing to become a future teacher. My hope is that when I am out in the education world, I will be able to show my students that I am a good teacher without have “crazy” assumptions being made. It is good to reminisce about the teachers wer had in elementary school, but realize that they are just normal teachers who just may have a little spunk :)

  16. Jay Childs
    on Jul 12th, 2011
    @ 11:58 pm

    Sometimes the Campus Whack Job is your most valuable asset.

  17. LaTisha D Dawkins
    on Jul 18th, 2011
    @ 12:44 pm

    I had a teacher like this in high school. She drove me up the wall. I was pretty good student. (As a child, we still will do childish things at times). She was very particular about certain things in our English class. She ALMOST caused the fizzling out of my favorite subject in school…. Yet, there were 2 things in school that she said that stayed with me:
    1. There’s something rotten in Denmark… From Hamlet
    2. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying…

    She would say these things at least 3 times out of the week. And amongst all of the things that made us wonder was she the wicked stepmother of Snow White… (“Have an apple my pretty…” complete with long nails and shaggy hair….) I finally understood why she said #2 5 or 6 years later in life. Because she was soo particular, it prepared for some of my more anal retentive superiors I’ve encountered in my various positions over the years.

    She was a little whacked out but I can say now that I can appreciate her to a degree…. I guess I will uncover more life lessons from her the older I become?? :-)

  18. Amanda Lynn
    on Jul 29th, 2011
    @ 5:07 pm

    I had a same crazy teacher, I had her in 4 th grade and then she moved to junior high when I was in 6th grade. Now years later I thank her ever time I see her, she taught me so much in class and about life. She taught for years and touched many lives – they just don’t make teachers like her anymore!

  19. Garmin Fenix
    on Aug 3rd, 2012
    @ 2:43 am

    Hey you survived.. both times.. You can tell those parents that there kids will, survive, too! Almost all of us have had such an experience in life, at least once. Who says school only has to be fun?

  20. not telling (afraid my insane teacher read this)
    on Mar 31st, 2013
    @ 1:12 pm

    man, I hear ya. I got like 4 or 5 crazies:

    K-2: went smoothly. I liked my teachers, and they liked me.

    3rd grade: In second grade, during an assembly, I had met a teacher, who wanted to talk to me for some reason. little did I know, the next year, she would be my crazy teacher, who would give detention to a 3rd grader for not finishing an assignment in class!!! I still shudder when I think about her.

    4th: smoothly.

    5th: this was the worst. they say she swore in school! I heard her once, too! she was so mean, they say that when we switched with another teachers class (he taught us science while she taught them social studies) they say she was nice to them so that the other teacher would not tell the principal. me and my friend jack hated her so much! and, she picked on me the most! for no reason, other than my learning challenges. two years later, before my sister started 5th grade, my mom actually e-mailed the principal before the class assignments went out to tell them not to put my sister into my 5th grade teacher’s class!

    6th: smooth year. entered middle school.

    7th: my insane science teacher gave me lunch detentions for no reason other than the fact that I raised my hand too much. I thought that was good! so, because of her unknown hatred towards me, that was the only year I almost flunked science. every other year, I did very well in science.

    8th: not really, only a few insane moments from a few teachers.

    9th: english teachers that gave waaaaay too much homework. not only that, they literally, in the normal sense of the word, bullied me! If I was not too lazy to report them, they would have been history.

  21. Annette
    on Nov 30th, 2013
    @ 7:50 pm

    What are you talking about, the mean teachers are sometimes the best? They’re the worst! I actually put an effort into not doing well at maths to avoid getting the mean teacher who taught the top class for maths in 4th grade. Then I got the 2nd top teacher who happened to be nice but very distracted and incompetent.

    Ever notice how the mean teachers get to teach the top classes? Because the bullying that they inflict on the students is also inflicted on other teachers, so they get their way. They get the “top classes” which are full of the easiest students to teach!

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