On our first day of Freshman year Algebra class we were a bunch of clueless 14 and 15 year olds. Well, I know I was!! So our instructor was giving us the rules to live by in his classroom. Rule #1 – Keep your mouth closed unless you were called upon to speak.
Not 5 minutes went by and some daring young smart-mouth in the very front row decided to share a witty comment without 1st raising his hand to seek permission. Our teacher – a no-nonsense young Jesuit Mister – proceed to blow his stack and knock that poor young man right out of his desk. As our fellow student picked himself up off the floor the rest of us were awe-struck. And from that point forward we had been warned. Don’t break rule #1 or there will be consequences.
That bold young Jesuit teacher shared a whole bunch of knowledge with us that year. And he had earned our respect. No lawsuits filed. No teacher suspensions … Just a bunch of scared teenagers who now knew where the line was drawn.
Later in that 1st month of the new school year, a fellow classmate presented our Algebra teacher with a fiberglass paddle. ( I wonder if others were suspicious of his motives? ) Prior to the paddle our well-respected instructor had a big old size 12 tennis shoe for handing out swats when any of us failed to follow rule #1. Punishment was just a fact of life in our Catholic High School. While I don’t recall my exact infraction, I know the feeling that stupid paddle left me with as I bent over and grabbed my ankles!