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Mama’s Losin’ It Writer’s Workshop: Second Grade

If you are interested in some fabulous writing prompts, go visit Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Workshop. This week, she offers us a series of prompts to choose from:

1.) Last week I opened the opportunity to write an open letter to men with a  word of advice, an issue you’d like to address, or a solution to a problem. This week? Hand over the reigns and let your husband write his OWN open letter to women.
2.) 5 Random facts about you and your family. (inspired by Nice Girl Notes)
3.) The last time you were sick…
4.) Write a blog post inspired by the word “red”.
5.) Your second grade teacher.

As you see from the title of this offering, I have chosen to go for prompt #5…

Mama’s Losin’ It

Second Grade

It was a most brilliant time in my life. Let us be completely truthful: I was brilliant at this time in my life.

I had learned to read well above my grade level before entering Kindergarten, so second grade was shaping up to be a breeze. The assignment: draw a picture and write a sentence. Got it.

Elementary school paper

My sentence: “The dog liked my face.” Note: we had not learned about the “ck” sound and its conventions, so as far as I was concerned, my sentence was perfect. My artwork was also impeccable and it was, in my second grade logic, a given that my work would be in the “star” section of hallway presentations; there was a star section (located at the top of the wall near the entrance to the classroom), a smiley-face section (located at the mid-point of the wall), and an unmarked section (located in the dust at the bottom of the wall). I submitted my work, knowing the inevitable outcome.

Fast forward to the next day: I arrive at my class, smiling with anticipation as I prepare to view the triumphant display of my superior work. As my eyes roamed the star section, my smile slowly evaporated; my page was not there! I found it in the smiley-face section and immediately rushed to the desk of my second grade teacher, who had obviously made a grave error and needed my assistance to make the appropriate adjustment. I marched up to her, full of indignant irritation and announced, with no greeting of the day, “You put my paper in the wrong spot.”

She was good; she gave me that syrupy-sweet second-grade-teacher smile that said, little girl, you know I’m using every ounce of patience I have not to reach over there and snatch that sass out of your mouth. Out loud she said, “No, honey; it is in the right place,” as she pushed back from her desk to walk with me to the hall. She leaned down next to me and pointed to my paper. “You spelled a word wrong and that is why you didn’t get a star.”

What?! A misspelling? Impossible. “No, I didn’t.”

“Yes, honey; you did. See–right here. You spelled ‘l-i-k-e-d’ when it should have been ‘l-i-c-k-e-d’.”

I scoffed at her ignorance; there was no such word. My patience was wearing thin. “No, I didn’t spell it wrong,” I informed her, my voice getting louder to punctuate each word. She attempted to placate me, which did nothing but raise my ire all the more. In the end, I decided that she was past the point of redemption; I refused to acknowledge her ignorance. I stopped participating in class, refusing to allow her the honor of hearing a single brilliant word from me.

That was until she contacted my parents and invited them for a parent-teacher conference, where I was kindly informed by my father that I would participate in class, that I did have a misspelling, and that I would give respect to this woman who was greatly underpaid to deal with me and all the other little not-as-smart-as-her second graders. With each pronouncement, I could see this…teacher…growing taller, gaining power; she continued to look at me with that sweet smile, with her head tilted to the left ever so slightly as people do when looking at something they deem pathetic. It was a smile that said, yep; I am in charge, dearie, and don’t you forget it.

She never came to understand my brilliance and while I had lost this particular skirmish, there were many additional sorties that went in my favor. That year was simply a warm-up for the all-out assault that was third grade.


  1. mamaslosinit February 4, 2013 12:20 am

    No fair!! Your word worked and she should have put it in the right place instead of power tripping. I bet she enjoyed the opportunity to put little miss know-it-all in her place. 😉

    • AR Neal February 4, 2013 12:30 am

      And you know she did! 🙂

  2. janekinpis February 4, 2013 9:15 pm

    Not fair when you weren’t even taught the “CK” convention yet. I’d say the negligence was her teaching not your spelling!

    • AR Neal February 4, 2013 11:55 pm

      Right??? That’s what I think too!

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