Thursday, August 30, 2012

Frau Siebert

In my school career, I had only 4 incidences of being in trouble.  Not too bad for 12+ years, right?

My first incidence taught me not to get involved in other people's fights and I was sent to the principal's office. You can read about it, here.  Then I had an experience of the teacher taping me and another little girl's mouth shut for talking.  In high school, I was once kicked out of class (but did not go to the principal's office) for listening to another girl talk.  At least I had learned something from my earlier humiliation and didn't talk.  No one said I couldn't listen. But the reprimand I remember most happened in third grade.

My third grade teacher was a little short German lady named Miss Siebert.  She had salt and pepper hair, always wore dresses with a jacket, and sturdy sensible black shoes.

She was a no-nonsense kind of person who was efficient, neat and orderly, and she expected you to be the same.  I always did well in her class and earned good grades.

But, she had a temper when pushed too far!

I had a habit of whining.  Oh, yes, I did, and it seems funny now because I can't stand a whiner.  But way back then, I did whine.  Mostly about the kids making fun of me. 

Back in the sixties, we didn't have physical education in elementary schools.  We were just turned loose on the playground for recess.  I really don't remember much supervision,  if any. We mostly played games with jump ropes, tag and Red Rover, all of which involved using your hands. I had eczema on my hands when I was a kid with a major flare-up happening during my third grade year. I couldn't hide my eczema so naturally I became a target for teasing.

"Eww... look she's got the creeping crud!"  Or, the terrible, "Jerralea's got cooties!"  What is a cootie?  I'd like to know ....

I loved to go back into the classroom and tell Miss Siebert, "No one will play with me.  I can't play those games with my hands being the way they are.  Why do they hate me?  I can't help it. Yada yada yada ..."

Finally, one day, she snapped.  She marched over to me, grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me till I thought my teeth would drop out.  Her face was red and her eyes bulged.  She spoke through clenched teeth, "I am sick of hearing you feel sorry for yourself.  No one will want to play with a whiner!  Now you go out there and act like nothing is wrong and eventually someone will play with you."


Okay, then.  I learned to stay outside until the recess bell rang.  Sure, it was by myself but it was better than being around "Frau Siebert, Hitler's relative."  

Eventually, my eczema dried up.  Over time, the kids forgot about it and started including me in games. I did learn my lesson and realized no one wanted to hear me whine.

I gave it up for good.

I looked forward to fourth grade and making a new start with a new teacher and perhaps some different kids.

My first day of fourth grade came and I went to my classroom with excitement.  What did I see?

Frau Siebert had been moved up to being a fourth grade teacher.


This post was written in response to the Writer's Workshop prompt, 5.) Write a post about your third grade teacher. If you'd like to join in, visit Kathy's blog, "Mama's Losin' It."


Abby said...

Ha, great story! Frau Siebert's advice sounds like about what I tell my kids - or used to. They don't whine much around me as they know it's a lost cause.

I'm glad your "cooties" cleared up. Third graders can be mean!

Anonymous said...

Love this post! Nothing like reminiscing about our school years and the things we went through :)

May said...

Noooooooooo! I can just imagine a little girl walking into the room head held high and filled with hope only to be deflated at the sight of her teacher. Bummer!

3 recesses a day with the lunch recess being a little longer. We climbed, ran, skipped rope and pumped like mad on the swings. And we were a heck of a lot healthier. I don't know why this healthy, cost effective exercise break was ever phased out.