Thursday, August 26, 2010

Surviving the First Year of High School

High school at last! But it wasn't all it was cracked up to be I soon discovered.

My electives this year were Women's Ensemble and French 1. Both were year long electives, so all my other classes were the usual required ones, engligh- though I took college prep english for each year in high school, a math class, I went as high as algebra 2 before quitting all math classes in high school- I despised math, biology, and of course physical education- this was the last year I would be required to take any classes involving sweat and locker rooms, I took 1 trimester each of fitness, swim, and health class (which I opted out of weights to take!). I did actually end up taking AM swim for part of my junior year because I actually enjoyed that class, but it was not required, it was a class that was held before the school day officially began.

I liked most of my teachers and I believe most of them liked me. But then there was my French 1 teacher, Mr. J. Before I had been in his class a week, I began hearing rumors that this was his first year back after spending time away for throwing books at students. And honestly, it was hard not to believe by the end of the year. He was the only French 1 teacher, so I couldn't transfer out of his class unless I wanted to take a different language, which I didn't because I thought French was such a romantic language. If I ever visited a foreign country during that time in my life, it would have been France, to go see the Eiffel Tower and the Louve. I loved everything I thought to be French!
Of course, its hard to tell for sure if it was Mr. J, himself, or the students who had all heard the rumors, but he was an odd teacher. I often felt bad for him as most of the students lacked even an ounce of respect for him or his teaching. I had always been a goody-two-shoes, so I was never one to show disrespect to anyone, let alone my teacher. Though the other students regularly tried to push his buttons, and on occasion he did snap. He would throw a book or an empty desk even, at the wall and yell at us all. Then sometimes we would have substitute teachers for a few days, though I doubt any of his students ever let his outbursts slip, they genuinely seemed to get a kick out of being cruel to this poor teacher who had a short temper.
Mr. J only ever gave the simplest work to top it off. I retained very little from his class, and was completely unprepared for French 2 with a teacher who was quite the opposite of Mr. J, and expected much more from her students then we had learned previously. I remember on one particular occasion when Mr. J had us gather old assignments that had already been graded, to turn in this big packet. I hadn't been able to find most of mine in my mess of a room, so when he asked for them I told him I had forgotten it at home. Much to my astonishment he said, "I am sure you got an A," and told me not to worry about it!! Of course now I think that was horrible for a teacher to play favorites like that, but then I was just happy to not have to admit I didn't actually have half the papers (why turn back in ALREADY graded assignments anyway? He wasn't the only teacher who did this and I still don't understand why).

This was also the year I made a lifelong friend. One of the first guys I could really call a best friend. His name is Chris. We actually met through one of my friends who was his girlfriend of a couple of years at this point in school. He was a senior, and that's why I only met him this year. I remember the first time I met him, I thought he was weird and I was right! It was spirit week at school, and each day we had a theme and everyone came dressed up to match it. This particular day was 'mondo bizzaro' day, everyone came dressed in just the craziest stuff, and Chris was no exception. While I think I either turned my clothes inside out or had them on backwards or something like that (Chris probably remembers better then I do!), he was wearing his girlfriend's homecoming dress (though he did have a shirt on underneath)!
Not to far into that year, his girlfriend broke up with him. And though I was originally friends with her, Chris and I had clicked. So as one friendship (we weren't that close to begin with) dissolved, another one blossomed. Chris and I both had the same lunch all year, at least one day (we had 'A' days and 'B' days, 3, 2-hour classes each day). We often spent them just walking around the hallways at school talking about everything and anything. Chris was upset and still missed his girlfriend. I was pining for a boy who didn't like me romantically, and had been for going on 3 years at this point. So we encouraged each other in our circumstance, we were there for each other. Chris always referred to me as his 'little sophomore friend', even after that year ended and I became a junior and Chris graduated.
Over the years we have still been there for each other. He even was kind enough to help me make a move across the country when Jon got sent to Cuba on 10 days notice! Chris flew to the East coast and helped me pack stuff into a trailer and then drove back to the west coast with me, Natalie and our dog Diamond. There aren't many friends who would use their time off and money to reach out and help someone like that, but that is just Chris. He is a loyal and faithful friend through and through. Anytime I go home for a visit, I still make time to get together with Chris too, though we don't talk as often as we once did. While I have many friends back home, there aren't many I truly miss, and he is definitely among my top 3. Chris made my sophomore year infinitely more bearable!!

This is post 12 of 15 in a series I am doing to record my youth with other women at


  1. Awww... thanks. Geez, that almost makes me cry. I know I don't get to talk to you enough. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, actually. Definitely let me know when you guys are coming up - the three of us will definitely be up for see you all again. It's funny... Rachel and I were just talking about when I came out there to a couple of my relatives last Friday. Everyone always seems so impressed, but I still don't think it was that big of a deal. : )

    I don't remember the last time I thanked you for all the support that year... even with the handful of tragedies it was a good year. Thanks for your part in making that possible.


  2. That post was made all the more sweet by reading the above comment. It's very cool to see friendships that last!

  3. Awwww...too cute!

    And I swear, if I didn't know any better I'd say your French teacher taught at my school. Except he was Mr H. And he too threw things and even punched the glass out of the door one year (the doors were solid wood except for a long thin window near the handle so you could see in or out. He punched it (I don't remember why now) but I was the in the classroom next door and we heard it shatter. Craziness! Maybe it's the launguage? :)

  4. What a wonderful friendship! It's amazing the bonds that were formed for so many in high school...

    What a crazy teacher! I had a teacher that all the kids made fun of, but she was too old to either hear or care.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading my story!


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