Mrs. B, Gambling and The Gideons


Mrs. B, it would be an unforgiveable mistake to call her Ms B. Taught across the hall from my room my first year. She was a tough, fair, unbending teacher who through her consistency and strength generally got more from students than anyone else in the building. She often said “If it’s a good class you may allow yourself a smile in December if it’s a bad class Easter at the earliest.” During my first year I would see her walk by my chaotic room look in shake her head slightly and murmur tsk, tsk, tsk with her finger up at her lips. This was not done in an unkindly fashion as she would always later say to me, “you’ll learn,’ which was only partially true.
Mrs. B was a lover of books and a lover of God and back then right or wrong once a year the Gideon Society would bring little red pocket Bibles into the schools and hand them out to all of the students whether they wanted them, needed them or should have them at all. One year after the annual bible distribution Mrs. B caught one of her students ripping up the little red pocket Bible he had been given. I’m not sure which affected Mrs. B more, that he was ripping up a Bible or just ripping up a book but I have never seen a teacher verbally pin a student to the wall in a perfect picture of Old Testament wrath and pick them apart as she did that day. Unless it was the time Mrs. B caught Darrell paying off a bet with Doug. Doug and Darrell had earlier had a discussion concerning whether bears migrate or hibernate. A bet was made and Doug had won and Darrell was in the process of paying him a dollar (a pretty princely sum then) when Mrs. B became aware of the transaction….. ‘She drew herself up, looking much taller than any 5 foot 2 woman should be, and then as a thunder head might grow, seeming to be getting taller, wider and more ominous with every moment, her white hair even seemed to be turning black and threatening as she continued sputtering and then thundering. She rumbled in that strong but quiet voice you hear sometimes that promises dire consequences “You were gambling in my room, you were placing bets in my room, in an elementary school classroom you were gambling.” In “my room” you were gambling and paying off gambling debts. And then she repeated variations of that phrasing several additional times each time with the righteous indignation of unseen lightning lashing out more and more strongly at the now quivering students. I am sure that Doug and Darrell still remember the conversation and punishment that followed far better than I do. And they proved that they were quite strong as they stood and took their tongue lashing. I would still be lying in a puddle next to her classroom door and 40 years later the sight of a Gibeon Bible makes me twitch a bit.

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About safrisri

I have been a teacher since 1971 and have taught at all educational levels from pre-school to college. My college degree is general science which I arrived at after 5 years and 5 different majors. A degree as it turns out, almost as valuable and in demand as one in Neo-Bulgarian Mythology. I have been around education for around 40 years and can remember when teaching was a pleasant, happy and creative job and our schools were the same. My writings will reflect on my past mistakes and successes and what my students have taught me about education.
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