I didn’t like my junior high English teacher.
Her name was Mrs. Wisdom.
No, really. That was her name.
She was nice to me, at first. People like her are always nice at first.
I was in a new school after a summer move across the country. I’d gone from having friends, lots of friends, to knowing no one. We had to read our book reports out loud. In front of the entire class. In front of all those boys.
I couldn’t do it.
I absolutely could not do it. She called my name and I froze in my seat. I didn’t say a word, I just shook my head no. She smiled at me with that fake smile I didn’t know was fake by then and nodded at me to get up. I wouldn’t do it.
“Well then…” I thought maybe she’d be nice and let it slide. But no. She called on Michael Meredith. “Michael, why don’t you read Rebekah’s paper for her”. He stood up from his desk and walked over to mine. I handed it over.
Later that day in the lunch line I caught wind of the rumors. Mackenzie told me first. I liked her. She was the only one brave and nice enough to tell me. “Um, the boys are saying you don’t know how to read.” I couldn’t believe it.
“Huh?” I was too shy to be too upset.
Those boys had no idea what they were talking about. I’d been in the advanced reading group since first grade–me, Kristin, and Mary–before I got kicked out of it for not doing my reading homework during a two-week family vacation.
But that was in my old school.
“They’re saying you don’t know how to read. That’s why Michael had to read for you.”
Well that was just great.
The first week in a new school and I couldn’t even read.
Now I felt even stupider.