I know what you’re thinking. This is just the same story as last time. But it’s actually a shorter part 2! Just as much fun packed into a smaller package.
The story picks off at about the same time that the previous story ended. I was still pretty fed up with Mrs. Waffle’s teaching style.
If you don’t recall the story from last time, all that’s necessary is that my English teacher only graded in class assignments. Over the first semester we wrote three essays, none of which were graded. Our whole grade consisted of one in class essay per quarter, two in class tests per quarter, and a handful of participation in class assignments. How is my atrocious writing supposed to get better if I don’t get any feedback? What’s the point of even doing work when you don’t get any feedback? Why do I even write these essay? Is she even reading them? Wait, is she even reading them?
Sometime in February, we got an assignment about poetry. The assignment was to take a poem, song or collection of either and write a huge analysis of the work. At least ten pages. And at this point, because of the past story, I really disliked Mrs. Waffle. I wrote my paper pretty easily. It was about the Pink Floyd album The Wall, and went pretty smoothly. It was about fourteen pages and I felt like it was pretty good. But then I remembered my question, “Is she even reading them?”
So I formulated a plan. I was to test this theory of mine that she just takes all of our essays and throws them in her fireplace. I just had to submit a piece of work that had enough of a length to it to be my essay at first glance, but if actually read, would quickly reveal itself to be not my essay. Then it hit me. The Bee Movie Script. It was perfect, long enough to be fourteen pages, complete gibberish, and best of all, at the time, February 2017, the Bee Movie script was the hottest meme.
The rest of the plan fell in like clockwork. I would print out the Bee Movie script, put my name at the top, and submit it in place of my essay. I would even make the font a little wacky to give her a hint. Then I would submit my actual essay via Google Drive. It was foolproof. If she actually read it, she would confront me and want to know what’s up. Because how can you, as a teacher, read the Bee Movie script and not talk to the student? Then I could tell her I had no idea what she was talking about, I submitted my essay with Google Drive. No accountability. If she didn’t read it, I would proof almost definitively that she wasn’t even reading our papers and flaunt to all the others about how I submitted the Bee Movie Script in place of a ten page paper.
Then I acted on my plan. I printed out and turned in the Bee Movie Script, submitted my real essay via Google Drive and waited. The days turned to weeks, the weeks to months, and before I knew it the quarter was ending. Still no word or email from Mrs. Waffle about me turning in the bee movie script.
After that, I promised not to do a lick of homework for that class for the rest of the year. I participated in class and everything, but I didn’t do any essays, and reading, anything. That’s not quite true, I did do two things over the rest of the year. One was a team assignment to complete an essay together. Despite my cold hard proof, I couldn’t convince all of my teammates to blow off the essay. I’m not a jerk, so I still put my full effort into the paper. The other was a short assignment, I forget the prompt, but I still have my response:
The FitnessGram™ Pacer Test is a multistage aerobic capacity test that progressively gets more difficult as it continues. The 20 meter pacer test will begin in 30 seconds. Line up at the start. The running speed starts slowly, but gets faster each minute after you hear this signal. [beep] A single lap should be completed each time you hear this sound. [ding] Remember to run in a straight line, and run as long as possible. The second time you fail to complete a lap before the sound, your test is over. The test will begin on the word start. On your mark, get ready, start.
Content Warning: This article mentions predatory behavior.
Mrs. Waffle was perhaps the weirdest teacher I ever had. Her daughter was in her class. One time she made a joke about her daughter’s boyfriend moving to Oregon which made her daughter cry. You could say she really had a “hand-on” teaching style. Once when she wanted to talk to me, she massaged my shoulders while she talked. Another time when we were working on a computer thing, she was interested in something I was talking about, so to use my computer, instead of sliding it over to her, she just slipped her arm between mine and basically hugged my arm and it was super awkward. And she basically does that for everyone.
Over December: My teacher Mrs. Waffle didn’t really grade much of anything. We only had like 8 or so graded assignments. But nonetheless I had a 94.28%, a 66/70. I had never gotten an A in English before at all. My school only recorded the overall semester for college. So I hadn’t even gotten an A in any individual quarter, all Bs. So I was proud that this would be my first A.
Thursday, January 5th: The first day of school after winter break. At night I checked my grades again to see if any of them had been locked in. When they get locked in, it just shows the letter and no percentage. I got a C on the exam, so no chance of getting an A for the semester. When I looked, it displayed B [%]. When I clicked on the grade, there were no additional assignments added. I checked multiple times, adding up repeated; maybe my math was wrong. But no matter how many times I looked it over, I always ended up with 66/70 – a 94.29%. So I decided to talk to Mrs. Waffle tomorrow.
Friday, January 6th: At the beginning of class, I went to talk to Mrs. Waffle about the grade. I told her that my grade displayed a B, but I calculated an A based on the assignments. I asked if it just didn’t show some assignments, or if there was some mistake. She then held both my hands together as she talked to me, which is just so… ugh, feels so weird. She said she was sorry and would look into it and change it.
Thursday, January 12th: I had been checking my grade all week, disappointing more and more as it didn’t change. I decided to talk to her again tomorrow.
Friday, January 13th: No change. Again I talked to her before class. I told her my grade still hadn’t changed and asked why that was. She immediately held my hands again saying she forgot. Then she wrote some gibberish on a post it note and put it on her bulletin board to help her remember.
Monday, January 16th: No change. My grade still hadn’t changed. So once again I went to talk to her. As I started to walk toward her, she clearly knew what I was going to ask. I didn’t say a word as she held my hand and started to explain. She said her uncle had died over the weekend and she couldn’t bring herself to do anything. It was a real “not like this” moment, y’know? Because it’s like I wanted to be mad at her, but just couldn’t bring myself to be mad. So I said I’m sorry, I understand.
Tuesday, January 17th: No change. I think that Tuesday was a day we didn’t have English because of an assembly or something, and I didn’t want to bother her that soon anyway.
Wednesday, January 18th: No change. Pretty normal day. I went to her, told her my grade still hadn’t changed. She held my hands as she apologized again, and said she would take care of it. Nothing new.
Thursday, January 19th: No change. She was busy at the beginning of class, so I didn’t talk to her then. At class my friend next to me was cold, so I let her borrow my jacket for the class. At the end of the class, she gave it back and I had to put it back on again. So as I walked up to her I was putting my jacket on, so my hands were not available. When I started to talk to her, she went right for my hands, but haha! They were busy, can’t hold them. Without skipping a beat, she put her hand on my shoulders. She kept apologizing, saying she was sorry. Then she said “It’s not anything to do with you, I love you, I’ll try to fix it”. As she said “I love you”, she transitioned her hands from my shoulders to CUPPING MY FACE. It was so incredibly awkward, so I got out of there as fast as I could.
Friday, January 20th: No change. I was still too weirded out to want to talk to Mrs. Waffle. I took my chance and asked her while I was behind my desk with her on the other side. Once again, she apologized a lot and held my hands. But after yesterday, I was more than fine with holding hands. She wrote my name or something on her arm to help her remember.
Of course, throughout this whole thing, I’d been telling this story to a lot of my friends. After talking to my friend Gerry, I came up with a poorly thought-out but great idea. So today, I took it into action.
At about 7 p.m., I sent her an email. The subject was “My Grade Still hasn’t Changed”, with the body simply this:
She got back to me fast – within a couple of hours. She replied “I’m not sure where you are looking or that it will.” Oh, no. I’m in trouble. The message is a little confusing, but my interpretation of it is: “I don’t know what you’re looking at, and I’m not sure it will change” -> “I’m not gonna change it because you were rude.” I sent this poorly thought out email and now she hates me. So I spent the weekend thinking through things and asking friends and family for opinions on what to do.
Sunday, January 22nd: I decided to go with the apologetic and informative approach. I drafted this long email, explaining the whole situation, linking a picture to my grade and assignments, including my calculations and everything. I even ended the email with “Love, Nathan” in hopes of appealing to the side of her that’s infatuated with me. She got back to me within an hour or two again, with the reply:
“Trust that I have the best in mind for you <3”
What???? What does this even mean? Is it like, “trust that I have the best in mind for you, but I’m just a forgetful idiot”? Or is it more of a “trust that I have the best in mind for you, but I’m not changing your grade because you don’t deserve it”? Heck if I know.
Monday, January 23rd: No change. After consulting with others who were equally as confused as I, I emailed her back: “Does that mean that you will change it?” I expected her to get back within a couple of hours like before, but no response.
Tuesday, January 24th: No change. I went to talk to her again. I asked about the email and if she was going to change it. She said that there was something wrong with the system and that it was already finalized in one place that she couldn’t change and had been trying. But there was another place that she could change it, and that she had, but it might not show up on the website. So I left, thinking: this reassures me basically not at all. But I gotta wait for the report card to know for sure.
Tuesday, January 31st: I have a friend named Kevin who I have known since 1st grade, and know really well. But this semester, we didn’t have any classes together. But we did have one thing, we passed each other when walking from our lunch bell to 6th bell. We would meet up, walk with each other and talk for about two minutes, probably less, each day. For the past couple weeks, I had been telling this story two minutes at a time, picking up where I left off the previous day without any refresher. Today I finally finished the story thus far, explaining that I was now waiting for my report card to come. Confused, Kevin asked “it came last week, you didn’t get it?”
So when I got home, at dinner, I asked my parents if my report card came, and my mom was like “oh yeah it came last week, I didn’t think you cared.” Any other semester, she was totally right. She pulled it out of the filing cabinet. I took a look, scanning for the second quarter. English: B. The time for patience had long passed. I emailed my counselor asking to talk to him after school one day.
Wednesday, February 1st: I went in to talk to my counselor after school. I explained to him that my grade was not what it was supposed to be. I told him I had been asking my teacher to change it for the last few weeks and she still hasn’t changed it. He logged on to his thingy, and found my name. He took out a calculator and typed in the numbers. He said Nathan it’s an 85%, that’s a B. For a moment I lost all color, and feared the worst. Had I really been wrong? After all this time? No way. I had checked this over so many times. My math isn’t wrong. I told him it’s definitely a 94.29% and please check again. He typed the numbers on the calculator again. “Oh yeah, you’re right, it’s a 94%.” I guess that’s why he’s a counselor and not a math teacher (don’t take offense to this, counselors are perfectly smart people and Mr. Sweeney was great, he just made a simple mistake). He told me he’d change it now and get a new report card to me sometime soon.
Tuesday, February 7th: No word from Mr. Sweeney. So I feared the worst. He’s just like Mrs. Waffle. He’s never gonna change it. I’ll have to go farther up the chain. I went in to talk to him after school. I walked in and asked about my grade. He said, “Ah, Nathan, I’ve been meaning to email you. Here’s your report card”. I took a look, scanning the second quarter. English: A. Finally, change.
She has not one, but 2 Nintendo Switches*. That’s right, she wanted the Animal Crossing Switch so much that she bought it in addition to another Switch. She has played copious amounts of Animal Crossing over the past few days since its release. She has over 140 hours logged into Stardew Valley, and has completed 23/40 of the extremely difficult achievements in the game. She’s also taken up Sonic Adventure 2, with about 5 hours with that game. She has played My Riding Stables – Life with Horses for over 5 hours, and even wrote an in-depth article about her experience with it. And these games are just the ones that I know about. Who knows what other games she has spent hundreds of hours on in the past year. She also recently started TWO Discord servers (that we know of), where she now spends every waking hour on. Due to all of these facts, Erika Serna is, without a doubt, a gamer girl.
*Clarification, Serna was borrowing her brother’s Switch for the semester and now owns the Animal Crossing one. But it remains to be seen whether her brother actually plays on the Switch.