This is teacher appreciation week, so in honor of that, I will be posting every day about some of my favorite teachers.
Mrs Erickson was my 8th (and 10th) grade English teacher. She was possibly the most terrifying teacher I have ever had, and yet I really liked her class. Mrs. Erickson was an older woman (in my memories she is in her 60s) with bright red hair and the longest scarlet red fingernails I had ever seen. She authoritatively tapped the overhead projector with those nails to make points and due to the nature of the projector, the shadows of those nails grew ten times their size on the screen when she tapped.
Mrs. Erickson maintained absolute control over her classroom at all times, and woe be the 14 year old scholar who attempted to disrupt the teaching process. I remember taking tests in her room and getting to look out the windows on beautiful days, getting distracted by both the sunshine and NOT SITTING IN MY REGULAR AREA!! I remember reading Around the World in 80 Days and liking it so much that I have reread it several times since that point.
Mrs Erickson was super organized. All her copies were made WEEKS in advance (which I appreciate even more now that I am a teacher myself) and her lesson plans were set in stone. Come hell or high water, those 20 pages MUST BE READ WHEN YOU GET TO CLASS. It didn’t matter if there were spirit weeks or dress-up days, if you were sick or got called to the office, your homework had to be done, and you better be ready for that daily quiz. I remember dreading Mrs Erickson’s class, but liking it deep down at the same time. She memorized the Jabberwocky, and so did I. She memorized The Raven, and so did I – well, the first two stanzas anyway. Those poems are engraved on my brain for all time.
One of the side effects of the hyper organization, however, was a tendency towards obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was rumored to wear all her outfits in a certain order and have them hung up in her closet in that same order. Four senior boys one year, for their senior prank, decided to get on the overhanging roof of the high school with a 50 gallon trash can full of water and dump it on the vice-Principal, Mr. Starr, when he came out of the building. Three of them were on the roof and one was keeping an eye out for him to come out of the building. The lookout saw Mrs. Erickson coming and changed the plan without informing the others. He gave the word and the other three dumped the water, soaking Mrs Erickson from head to toe in an unexpected and very cold shower.
For her strength, resilience, and ability to deal with junior highers and high schoolers with complete control, I salute you, Mrs. Erickson. You were a great teacher.