I was tormenting Tiquan.This was right and proper, as he was smaller than I was.We were in second grade at Ray School.Suddenly Tiquan turned around in his seat and screamed at me.
-Oh Tiquan, that’s wonderful, you yelled, Ms. Bowers said.
Ms. Bowers seized every opportunity to pass on a life’s lesson.Embarrassed, we both shrank in our seats. If someone is picking on you, you should stand up to them. Once when someone did something she said:
-Who did that? Look at you, you all turned to look, you dummies; you gave him away.Raymond, are you proud of yourself?All these friends of yours that you are showing off for gave you away.
Thereby she imparted the important lessons of group cohesion and honor.
-I can see your lips moving, I know you’re talking.
Don’t be caught was the number one lesson.Each day was a new challenge.One morning the principal, Ms. Kenause, lay in wait for us and rounded us up as we came in late.Then she marched us all into class and told Ms. Bowers to mark us down late.
-You let that old lady catch you, how pathetic.
-What could we have done?
-Wait for her to leave.
On Fridays, she would give us a word problem that was too hard for us; we would get frustrated and wander around the class looking for someone who had made some progress.
One day she got really mad and slammed the pointer on the desk and yelled.A circle of plaster, about three feet in diameter, dropped from the ceiling on her head.We had classes in the auditorium while they fixed the ceiling.
Sometimes you hear a teacher say they are on the kids’ side.Ms. Bowers was the real deal.She had come over to the dark side. Every other teacher and the principal hated her.I was in love, I asked my mom:
-Why isn’t Ms. Bowers married?
-Remember that question when you are older, mom answered.
At the end of the school year, they took us to our third grade classroom to meet the teacher for next year, Ms. Reid.She spent the next hour yelling at us. I was scared, but I guess we should have been proud.