Coffee heat rising

Stylishly Stupid

Thinking about the teachers we had in Ras Tanura’s grade school, not with much pleasure where most of them were concerned.

The first-grade teacher, Miss Woods, was excellent — by the grace of God. We had no kindergarten, so at least this woman started me out on the right foot.

The second-grade teacher was a witch. Stupid as a post…if only posts could be not mean.

The third-grade teacher, Miss Gaskill, also was excellent. Between Woods and Gaskill, I learned to read exceptionally well and sorta kinda figured out arithmetic (which I dearly hated).

The fourth-grade teacher was so stupid as to make a post look smart. Ignorant? She defined ignorance. And was proud of it.

Fifth grade brought me to a “world traveler”: one of those women who out of boredom and curiosity convert their teaching credentials into a ticket to jobs overseas. Stupid, she probably wasn’t; but she was mean, at least to weird little girls who didn’t conform to her definition of American girlhood. I loathed the woman. Managed to get out of her class (thanks to the machinations of my mother and her best friend, a nurse in the camp clinic, who contrived to persuade my father I was so sickly I needed to be sent home to the States).

So, mercifully, I escaped the Ras Tanura Senior Staff School and arrived in the U.S. halfway through the sixth grade, having been out of classes for the better part of a year — supposedly too “sick” to attend.

In San Francisco, where we came to light, I was so far ahead of grade that the teacher hardly knew what to do with me. I quickly moved on to junior high school, also well ahead of grade (I had been tutored at home for the better part of a year). And oh, my! I was so, sooooo happy to get on the other side of the globe from Saudi Arabia!

And out of the Saudified Americans’ lock-step schools.

Just because your kid isn’t doing well in grade school may not mean something’s wrong with the kid. The problem may be with the school itself, or with the kid’s charming little classmates. Don’t assume anything…