The Year I Didn’t Learn Anything


I didn’t learn A THING in 5th grade. I went to Sue Reynolds Elementary School, and my teacher’s name was Mrs. LaFrance. She was a chunky, blonde woman with a huge gap in her front two teeth. The most prominent memory I have of her was that she was on a diet, and all she ate for lunch was an apple and a Slim Fast shake (chocolate flavor of course), but she never lost any weight! Well, I think I know why. She probably didn’t eat right at home. You know how–at least in my day–during the orientation/open house before school started the teachers would give you a long list of supplies to bring? So, on Mrs. LaFrance’s list, we were all supposed to bring a bag of candy. You know, teacher’s don’t make squat and have to supply anything they want for their class with their own money. It’s only fair that parents help out. So, she wanted to be able to reward us without spending a bunch of money. Fair enough. Anyway, so of course we were expecting to be fed candy throughout the year seeing as how there were 24+ bags of candy in the closet at the back of the room. Needless to say, we had no candy all year. One day towards the end of the year (it was probably the last month of school), we–as in the kids who had the late buses–were helping Mrs. LaFrance clean up the classroom. She appreciated it soo much, and seeing as how it was only a few of us, she told us to go in the closet and get as much candy as we wanted. WOO HOO! We opened the closet doors and were shocked to see not a single bag of candy!! I’m sorry, I take that back…there was ONE bag of candy. There was a bag of hard candy left, and of course we didn’t care about that. We wanted the chocolate!! Apparently so did she. We were soo disgusted with her as we figured out that she had been eating our candy all year! Anyway, that’s probably why she never lost any weight.

Ok, back to the subject of not learning anything. Mrs. LaFrance was the kind of teacher who taught only what was on the tests. That was the first time I had ever experienced that. I enjoyed school, but I thought that particular year was strangely easy and I didn’t know why until I got to 6th grade. OMG, I felt like such a dunce! I always thought I was pretty bright, but man, I felt like I was taking advanced courses. Anyone who knows anything about Langford Middle School in Augusta, GA knows that we weren’t known for our stellar grades in the mid 90s! I mean like, when Black History month came around I didn’t know ANYTHING about anyone. In social studies, the teacher made references to stuff we were supposed to learn the previous year and I had no clue what she was talking about. Math was always an issue with me, so there was no surprise there. English was always my best class, but even in that class there were some principles that I didn’t know. I felt like I had wasted an entire year of my life that I can’t get back. I felt the effects of that for several more years actually. I mean, how do you make up 9 months of material?? So, first she was a real dork, then she ate our candy, and then she didn’t teach us anything??? Mrs. LaFrance was NOT my favorite teacher!

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