In elementary school, a class at a time we would be taken to the auditorium. The nurse would weigh us and shout the results to our teacher who was sitting at a distance, writing it down. Anita was embarrassed because she was overweight while I was humiliated because I was the proverbial skin and bones. In 2nd grade, I weighed 44 pounds. I can verify this because weight was written on the back of our report card, next to average weight. ( 53 that year)
While this public weighing shows lack of respect for kids’ privacy and feelings, there was one teacher who seemed to specialize in humiliation. Unfortunately I had this teacher for both second and third grade through an unfortunate shuffling of kids and staff due to overcrowding.
Mrs. Malone, would take us in the coatroom and go through our hair with a tongue depressor. We always knew who had lice as they went home, pronto. I was always terrified I would have them, but my father comforted me by quoting his mother: “It’s no disgrace to get them, but it is to keep them.” I somehow escaped, probably because my mother insisted that I wear my long hair in French braids tied into a loop.
Mrs. Malone would also inspect our pencils which were green with no eraser. For some reason I recall they were branded Chem-Sealed. If we had chewed on the pencil, she scolded us and wrapped white tape around the pencil for all to see.
This same teacher walked along the aisles, bending down by seats to see who had passed gas. If we hadn’t already figured it out, we knew because Mrs. M would pump an air spray bottle, aimed at the student, just below waist level.
Needless to say, we were all very intimidated by Mrs. Malone, but my own personal hell with her is a story unto itself. Tune in again on Thursday for the full account.
© Dorothy C. Judd
Next Post: Thursday, April 25th