The Day I was Different

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Our math teacher Mr. Bumphry was almost never pleased with us. I assume it was the excessive talking, and lack of attention we students had. Lucky for me, I wasn't one if those kids. I listened, and rarely talked. But if someone did something Bumphry didn't like, we got the reward of more work.


It was the week before the last day of school, and everybody was ready for break. You could tell as nobody brought their school things (pencils, paper, etc.). That was the same with me, because I expected no work. But I guess we talked too much because before we knew it, there was another worksheet he wanted us to complete.


“Eli, you want a pencil?” Mr. Bumphry asks while the kids come up and get the teacher-supplied pencils.


“I'm not going to do this,” I reply, which causes many heads to turn at me.


“You aren't going to do this? Why not?” he asks.


Sounding more and more nervous, I respond, “Because I wasn't talking or doing anything, I don't think I should have to do this.”


Now you have to imagine how scared I was, I've never been in a situation like this.


“That doesn't matter, you still need to do the worksheet,” Bumphry replies.


“No,” I say, getting quieter by the second.


“Quiet everybody or I'm going to call the principal!” yells Bumphry, now returning to our 'conversation'. “You know that if you don't do this it'll drop your grade. You don't want that after you've kept an A all year, do you?”


I highly doubted that. Like he would want to be grading a few days before summer break.


“Do you want me to call your dad?”


“Sure,” I say, in a nervous voice.


At this point everybody (except the teacher) was in shock. I wasn't the kind of person who would do something like this! I'm not the one who gets his parents called up by a teacher!


Soon enough I was on the phone with my dad, who worked at the elementary school a quarter of a mile away from my school.


“What's wrong?” asks my dad.


“Well—I wasn't doing anything wrong. I wasn't talking, I shouldn't have to do the work,” I say.


The class was starting up a loud conversation as usual while the principle was on her way to 'calm things down'.

I conclude the conversation with my dad and hang up the receiver. I return to my desk where the surrounding kids tell me what a 'good job' I have done.


“I was like this when I first stood up to a teacher,” says a class member, referring to my current condition.


“Yeah,” says another, “Are you okay?”


I nod my head, too upset to speak.


Soon the Principle is gone, and the eighty-four minute class was drawing to an end. Others were working on the worksheet I declined to do.


After the class was over, Mr. Bumphry asked if he could have a word with me.


“Yes?” I say.


A group of kids from my class watched through the classroom window.


“I spoke with your dad and we both agreed that you shouldn't have had to do that worksheet,” says Bumphry.


Oh, so now the story is changing, eh?


“Uh-huh,” I say.


“You shouldn't have announced that you didn't want to do the work to the whole class. It'll soon make it so every kid says 'if Eli is not going to do the work, then I'm not either', and I don't want that,” says Bumphry.


I was then dismissed to my next class as kids swarm me asking their questions about what had happened. They soon fled, and the day went on.


The worksheets were never graded, and my grade for that class stayed the same. This shows how much power a teacher thinks he or she has. Kind of the same with police officers at times. Well, that's the story. And in case you're wondering, this was all true.





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