It was a hot summers day. Athletics day. A day I dreaded, standing in lines waiting to take my turn to jump a metre, or come seventh out of eight people , just managing to beat the guy in the wheelchair. A friend and I had managed to sneak a beer from his parents closet, and drunk it a couple of hours earlier. No-one was allowed to go to the quad to get a drink of water, in case some clever student tried to make a break from this state-ordered day of boredom. Finally I came to the long jump. The teacher in charge was a certain Mr Johnston, a man of short stature, with a pot belly and balding head. He also happened to be my English teacher, one who hadn’t made a very good impression on me. His monotone frustrated me, as he stood at the front of the class, droning away about sentence structure. As far as I was concerned, he was the type of teacher who kills the desire to learn. We shuffled in line , watching student after student run and jump, run and jump. Looking back on it now, I realize the teachers themselves must have been three times as bored as we were. My turn to jump came, and Mr Johnston had the nerve to tell me off for having the wrong coloured socks! “ It’s a disgrace to the house” he told me, shaking his head. I don’t know if it was the illicit alcohol, the dehydration , the boredom of the monotony of the day or a combination of all the above but something inside me snapped. “You call me a disgrace!” I yelled . “You’re the one who bores everyone in the class to death! No wonder we’re leaving this school as soon as we can. With teachers like you, who can be bothered!” “
The look of shock, disappointment, and hurt on his face sunk into my soul. I realised how much I’d hurt him, but instead of facing up to him and apologizing, I turned on my heels, ran down the short track and jumped. “One metre” called the bored looking seventh former.
The next day I woke up and remembered what I’d said. A mixture of emotions took over me, shame being the main one. Who was I to say such things to this guy, a nice man just trying to do his job. When English class came around, I made a point of getting to class early , as opposed to my usual act of turning up ten minutes late with some half hearted excuse. There were a few students in the class, but I walked up to his desk and offered him my apology . “ I don’t know what came over me, but I’m sorry if what I said hurt you , and I didn’t mean it.” He looked me over, small eyes hiding behind his glasses. Then came the surprise. A smile crinkled his little face, and he said “When I told your house leader, he couldn’t believe it. It’s the first time he’s heard of you expressing an opinion. If me being monotonous is what it takes to bring you out of your shell, then it cant be too bad a thing.” With that he stood up, and unlocked a cupboard up very high, higher then most students could reach. “These books are not exactly school sanctioned, but if you find yourself so bored by the curriculum, they could be just what you want. He picked out two for me, “, and the ass saw the angel” by