james-joyce-ulysses-book-review

ROLLING WITH JAMES JOYCE ON AN IRISH HILL

bookish-girls-leith-clark-warby-parker

ODE TO THE BOOKISH GIRLS

The story of one mean teacher

mean teacher story

“I remember one mean teacher…”

She taught us the mundane every Friday afternoon for the last three hours of our school week. She would march in class donning a stiff white shirt and a long black dress ­— and a tight hair bun — carrying papers and twigs so that she could smack us on the hand when she found a fault in one of us. She would always find a fault somewhere.

Proceeding up and down the aisles of us sitting on cold iron chairs in our uniform dresses, resting our dry elbows on our scratched desk top, she would point at one of us with a twig and expect an answer to the question she would have asked, waiting with a dark lipped pout. She wanted to raise mortals, so her questions were always about our adherence to the world around us.

We never did make her proud. She would shake her head at the culprit, without ever having listened to the answer. She would use us only as her queue to lecture on stability and routine. I always thought her hair bun was the reason she was constantly in a bad mood. There wasn’t much else to ponder on in our class. We were surrounded by walls with peeling paint, floor tiles that looked dirty even on clean floor day and a black board that was never void of stories recounting musts and mantras.

Test tubes and Bunsen burners were always there, even though we never did use them and our room was always cold. The only accessory in our class was a round clock that hung right on top of the black board. It was the one thing she would listen to — she would never stop one minute before or after it struck the hour of three.

Most of us had turned almost as grey as our socks by the end of our school days and become as bland as our uniforms were. She instilled in us a world lacking spontaneity; one of adherence and routine, and yet, some of us still found a rhythmical note in the repetitions of her mantras.

Story credit: Vogue UK.

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