A school fantasy
There’s always one in every class, one who I sense has some innate intelligence, but who chooses instead to offer up a comment, a wise-ass remark, at every turn. Eddie lays on the charm, too, don’t get me wrong, and he’s generally a nice guy, but sometimes he gets sarcastic, and sometimes he’s not nice to those outside his inner circle, so his charm to me is simply not enough. I get tired of hearing it.
Today we are diagramming sentences. Oh, God, I hate having to teach this. NO ONE likes this, except for a few of the very obsessive-compulsive types who need this kind of order to things, who like to know that each part of a sentence goes into one specific place. I think it comforts them. And, there’s nothing wrong with maintaining an order to the world where you can.
But Eddie is not one of those types. It is a waste of time, to him. I hear him mutter — too loudly — to his friend Tim, one seat over: “Man, this is bullshit! What a waste of time.”
I’m simply not in the mood. I was up late last night, probably didn’t get enough coffee before class started, and I’m cranky. I slam the chalk hard against the blackboard and the pieces fall to the floor. I whirl around to face the class.
“Woah, Ms. Park!” Eddie says. “Chill!”
“You!” I shout. “Get up!”
“What?” he says, shocked, then glances at his friends for support.
“Melissa,” I say to one of my more reliable students, “you’re temporary class monitor. The rest of you just stay here.” I grab my purse from under my desk.
“Yes, Ms. Park,” Melissa says. She looks nervous. So do several others. It’s not often I get angry.
Eddie doesn’t look nervous, though. In fact, he’s sort of smirking at Tim, and Tim is smirking back. Eddie hasn’t moved from his stretched out position in his desk. I quickly stride over there and grab his arm.
“I think I told you to get up, young man,” I say calmly, and I grab his arm and yank him out of his chair. Tim laughs. I point at him. “Keep your mouth shut, Tim, or you’re next!” I bark. Looking at the class, I say, “That goes for all of you. I’m not in the mood.”
“Where are we going?” Eddie says, as I lead him out of the classroom and down the hall.
“We’re going to have a ‘talk,’” I say. I drag him to the outside of the girls’ room, and tell him to wait there. I go to check the room and make sure it’s empty; it is. So I drag Eddie inside and lock the door behind us. “What are you doing?” he says.
“Shut up.” I don’t care if that’s not what you’re “supposed” to say to a student. I just said it. I’m angry. I drag him over to the sink. “I’m sick of your smart mouth, Eddie.”
“I’m sorry, I just don’t see the point…”
“I told you to be quiet. Were you going to talk about diagramming sentences? We’re done talking about diagramming sentences. We’re about to have another lesson.” I take my keys and unlock a small supply cabinet that’s in the corner of the room. Inside I find just what I’m looking for — a clean bar of Ivory soap.
“Kneel on the floor there,” I order, and I point to the area near the sink. Meanwhile, I start to run the water in the sink and I tear open the soap wrapper. “Has your mother ever told you what a filthy mouth you have, Eddie?” I ask sweetly. “She SHOULD have…”
“Ms. Park, listen, I’m sorry,” he says. NOW he looks nervous. Good. I run the water over the soap and get it nice and wet and sloppy. “I won’t say ‘bullshit’ anymore,” he says.
“Well, I think you need a little HELP with controlling your mouth, and that’s why we’re here, Young Man. Open your mouth.” I help him by grabbing his hair and tilting his head up. He resists, clams his mouth shut. “Uh, uh, no. It’s too late, Eddie. This is what happens to smart mouthed children.” I emphasize the word “children” even though Eddie is closer to 15 or 16 now. I force his mouth open and push the dripping soap bar in.
“Hold that in your mouth until I tell you you can take it out!” I bark. I’m seeing tears form in his eyes. Good. I hope I’m scaring him. Next I reach into my purse and take out my flat, oval wooden hairbrush. I show it to him. “Your mother ever use on of THESE on you?” He shakes his head. “Maybe your mother and I need to have a good long talk,” I say. “Right now, I need you to get up.” I help him him by pulling on his hair.
There’s a little foot stool under the sink for the younger girls to stand on if they can’t reach the faucet. I nudge the stool out to the center of the room. Then I undo his belt buckle, unbutton his jeans and tug his pants down. Mouth full of Ivory soap, he mumbles some unintelligible protest. I prop my left leg on the footstool and bend Eddie over. Next I peel down his shorts. More mumbled protests.
“Sorry, Eddie, but you’ve crossed a line. I won’t have this in my classroom. You’re getting what your deserve.”
And then I simply spank him. Paddle him with the brush. I let him have it. Oh, it WILL do him good in the long run, but the poor boy is struggling and trying to cry out. I know, I know, it hurts, but guess what, you’ll have to take it, I think.
Halfway through, I let Eddie up, tell him he can take the soap out finally, and give him a few minutes to rinse. He’s sputtering and spitting the nasty taste out of his mouth, rinsing over and over. I know he’ll taste it for a while. Finally I stop him.
“That’s enough rinsing, young man,” I say. “Let’s finish your punishment so I can get back to teaching.”
“Please, no more, Ms. Park. I’m sorry, really. I won’t do it again.”
“Oh, yes, I know you won’t, Eddie. Now, come back over here.” He hangs back near the sink, afraid of the brush.
I snap into action, simply grab him, bend him back over my propped up knee, and grip his upper body with my left arm. Now I can hear his yelps and cries as I continue the hairbrush spanking. It strikes practically every inch of his bare bottom, and I’m watching his formerly white bottom turn pink, then red. Still I keep spanking until he’s sobbing and sobbing and pleading for mercy. He’s also struggling to get free from the pain, but I have a good hold on him and he’s forced to accept every stroke of the nasty brush.
I wonder if anyone can hear us outside the room. And I don’t care.
Finally, I let him up. He’s panting and crying from the pain and humiliation. “Go rinse out a little more if you need to, Young Man.” He goes to the sink and gulps back water in relief, also splashes some onto his red face. I put my hand on his back while he’s doing this. “I’m sorry that I had to do that, Eddie,” I say, “but you brought it on yourself and gave me no choice.”
Of course I had a choice. But THIS was the choice I believed I needed to make, in his case.
“You are forgiven, and nothing further will be said about this,” I say, soothingly. “But let’s make things clear. You WILL find yourself right back here again, and the soap will stay in longer, and the spanking will be longer and harder, if you act up again. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Ms. Park.” He is shaking, I see. I think maybe I got through to him. I give him some time to calm down. “Get cleaned up,” I say. “I’ll wait outside and make sure no one else comes in. Then we’ll go back to class, all right?”
“Yes, Ms. Park.” I leave him at the sink, finishing getting himself dressed and cleaned up. I wait outside the door for him, hoping that my lesson has sunk in.
If not … well, it’s going to be a long school year for poor Eddie.