‘Vulture’ makes life difficult, but easier in the long run

Aneta Huckova, General Columnist

“It’s a joyful day,” I think, as I walk into the school smiling from ear to ear. Today marks the end of the torture we have endured for the past two years.

No more death stares in my direction.

No more pop quizzes.

No more hours spent on five-page homework assignments.

I cannot imagine a better day than this one.

As I go to sit in my first period, I greet my friends and sit down with them for a few minutes before school starts.

“I can’t wait for her to be gone!” my friend John says, lazily packing items into his backpack.

You can’t wait? She made my life hell,”  my other friend Kate says, burning John with her angry stare. “I was bullied in front of the board every day. She liked you.” Kate was always jealous of people who did better than her. She was sweet, but whenever it came to school, her jealousy often transformed her into someone much meaner.

“That’s because I’m not an idiot, and at least I try.” John frowned and got up from his chair. I quickly followed. Not that I wanted to be early for my first period with the “Vulture” — as I had nicknamed my teacher — but it’s still better than listening to Kate complain about John and how terribly rude he is.

We walk into the classroom and sat down in our usual seats. I pick up my book and the two notebooks we’re required to have — one is for homework and one is for notes. Heaven forbid someone use the same notebook for both. As the bell rings, more people rush into the classroom. Vulture is the one to enter last.

“If you think that my last class with you will be sentimental, talking about our feelings … you are wrong. Open your books to page 122.” She quickly walks to her table, her heels clacking loudly on the wooden floor, as well-dressed as always. She sits down by her table, tells us our assignment, and we get to work.

The lesson comes to its end and only 15 minutes are left. I am done, sitting at my desk, examining my finished work. I have already learned how to be efficient in this class.

“As many of you know,” she says, “I am leaving today.” Everyone is looking at her now, waiting for her to continue.

“This year has been hard, I know that. I appreciate all of you who tried.” She shoots some glares at kids who are known for their carelessness and reckless behavior.

“I realize that my deadlines and requests weren’t easy for you. You weren’t only exposed to a big amount of curriculum, but also to college-style learning and formatting of your work. I bet that many of you are way more organized and will be able to deal with stress better than you were before.”

I can see her point. She forced us to grow up early. I hated her for that sometimes with a passion, but I can’t disagree.

“One day, you will thank me.” That is her last line as she leaves the classroom five minutes before the bell.

I sit at my desk, thinking about my progress over the last year. My time management has become noticeably better; I solve problems quickly, and I am always prepared if she randomly calls on me.

“Yeah, sure, thanks for my stress issues!” Kate says as loudly as she can before grabbing her textbook from the table.

Everybody gets up and starts leaving the class. As I leave, I feel kind of guilty. I dislike her, but she was a good teacher. Mean, but good.

“Thank you,” I whisper, feeling pathetic and strange.

It wasn’t the last time I thanked her. I thanked her many times after the application and interview for my new school and after difficult math tests on which I had advantages because of my knowledge.

I realized she didn’t want us to fail — she wanted to make us stronger and more prepared for success.

For that, I’ll say it one more time: Thank you.