« Catholic School Part I: Kindergarden | Main | Catholic School Part III: 2nd Grade: Trust and Respect »

Catholic School Part II: 1st Grade

Mrs. Carroll had a little invention named after her...the Caroll. It was 3 sheets of cardboard taped together so that they would stand up by themselves, and covered with contact paper. Carrolls went up like a box around the 3 sides of a desk to keep 1st grade students from cheating on tests. Mrs. Carroll had one for every desk in her classroom. My second grade teacher used them as well.

I was a pretty disorganized kid, and had developed pretty bad work habits even in Kindergarden. It didn't create too much conflict in Kindergarden, but that all changed once I got in Mrs. Carroll's class.

We had the kind of desks that were open in the front, and you could just slide all your books in. Mrs Carroll's policy was to periodically come around and look in kids' desks, and if the cleanliness of the desk didn't meet her standards, she went the route of public humiliation. He would put one heavy palm on the top, and just push the desk over a little, dumping all of the offender's sundry shit all over the floor. It happened to some other kids, but I never thought it would happen to me. Then, one day, she got to me, looked in that desk, and mercilessly dumped everything onto the floor.

Could be worse, right? Well, after several months of me not completing homework assignments (for which adequate class time was provided (and used mostly for daydreaming and staring off into space)) she brought my parents in for a parent-teacher conference. As my mom and dad tell it, one of the suggestions she made for holding me accountable to my assignments, was to buy me a puppy...so that they could take it away from me when I didn't complete them.

At the end of the conference she suggested that I get some counseling, and my dad said that he would be happy to if she went first.