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Orange Juice

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I always seem to remember a strange experience I had in the second grade. We had a teacher who was famous for making kids cry on a daily basis. She would scream, dump your desk onto the floor, etc. She was also known for playing “favorites” or even worse, openly showing how much she didn’t like a kid. We had a math test scheduled for that day. I was seated at a group of four tables pushed together and I could tell that the girl sitting across from me, one of the teacher’s “unfavorites” was quite nervous. Our teacher had strict rules for test behavior. She wanted all the students to begin their test at the same moment and would fly into a rage if a student put down even one answer before her start time. The teacher had not given us the permission to start and when I looked over I saw the same girl frantically erasing what had been on her paper. In her nervousness, she must have started before the signal and she had a good idea what would happen if she got caught. Of course the teacher had taken notice and when she saw the eraser marks she grabbed the paper, ripped it in half and through it in the trash. At that moment I could tell the girl could not take it. Day after day she had to suffer from this teacher humiliating her and she had finally reached her limit. Her face began to turn a shade of very pale green. She then vomited all over the classroom floor and created a mess that splashed all over our feet and backpacks. She must have had orange juice at breakfast because the smell was unmistakable. She was so embarrassed. All she could do was put her head down and cry. Most teachers would have softened in a moment like that, but not her. She roughly sent the girl down to the nurse’s office and told her to find the janitor to clean up the vomit. Then, like nothing ever happened, the teacher made us continue our work. I have never had so much hate for a teacher. I’ll never forget how helpless she made me feel because I was too afraid to do or say anything to help someone being treated unfairly.

Not surprisingly, that girl left our school to attend public school shortly after that day. Now I’m in public school too and I sometimes see her in the hallway. We say hello, but nothing much more than that. But until this day I can’t stand the smell of orange juice because it brings me right back.





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