I had a crap day, and for the last five hours I’ve trying to get to sleep but keep remembering last night’s nightmare. So I have got out of bed to blog about my profound guilt and Mrs L.
Mrs L was our English teacher for the first year at high school. She was one of the few people I have ever known about whom I would use the term sweet-natured. She was a small lady and the sort of person who would do anything for anyone, but in a rather naïve, unknowing kind of way like she had more compassion than sense. The sort of teacher you would feel guilty about mocking in her absence – a rare thing indeed. Later on she developed MS, which kind of aggravated this air of vulnerability.
During the first term at high school, I was flattened by the schedule and volume of prep. We had to catch a bus at half past seven in the morning and didn’t get back home until five. Then there were two or three hours homework to do. It was not easy when you've been used to being able to walk to and from school and be home before it got dark in the winter.
We had this novel to read, I can’t remember the name. It was set in Victorian London and the main character was a boy called Smith, in case that rings any bells. It was rather boring and I gave up a third of the way in, so when we had to write comprehension pieces I merely scanned through the text to find the relevant information as I need to refer to it. And I got an A+ and Mrs L applauded how thoroughly I had obviously read the book. She had actually used the word thoroughly in writing on my paper and then said it out loud as she handed it to me.
I felt so guilty that I almost confessed on the spot.
The second reason I feel guilty about Mrs L is because she really liked me in a way I didn’t deserve. She was so incredibly nice and thought I was too. I know I’m a bit nice, but not nice nice, like someone who wouldn’t ever swear or tell a dirty joke. This was of course my child’s perception and I may have been completely wrong. She may have been a quite ordinary person herself.
The third reason I feel guilty about Mrs L is because later on she took over the Religious Education department and when I was hoping to come back to school and take A-Levels, she declared that she would willingly put on a RE A-Level course and teach it even if I was the only person taking it (which of course, I would be, because I was the only person on Earth who would consider taking an RE A-Level).
And so I feel guilty that I wasn’t able to do the RE A-Level, Mrs L had no excuse to teach it and thus I effectively condemned her to continue teaching RE exclusively to people who had not chosen to be there and weren’t really interested in the Five Pillars of Islam and all that jazz.
So this is why, ten years since I last set eyes on the woman, I had a nasty dream about Mrs L and a jellyfish. I can’t actually describe it in detail as, even though I remember it in detail. It didn’t make sense and is quite possibly beyond words. But it wasn’t very nice. And it involved a jellyfish.
Hopefully I have now exorcised that demon and I will be able to sleep.