I spent my junior cert years plagued by the Home Economics Teacher. Things might have turned out differently if it wasn't for her constant obsession with: order, cleanliness, organisation, bland food and boring sewing tasks. No thirteen year old in their right mind thinks making an apron or oven-glove is fun. Now help them make a boob-tube or mini-skirt and you will have sewing converts for life.
But our issues didn't start there. Oh no, that’s most likely where they ended.
First there was her insistence on calling me “Aiiil-vaaaaa”. This ended in a three year long stale-mate. I wouldn't answer to it and she couldn't bring herself to pronounce it the correct way.
Then there was the first time we made cake as a class, I sat eating the licks from a spoon as we waited for the cakes to bake. Only to hear a deathly silence descend as she loomed over me hissing,
“And what do you think you are doing?”
“Eating the licks,”
“You do realize there are raw eggs in that”
“This is disgusting, never in all my days…” and so on and so forth, until I was a shade brighter than crimson and had vowed to hate her forever. Quite a serious vow, when made by a hormonally unstable thirteen year old.
I may not have helped our relationship when she performed cleaning drills.
Treating her shrill cries of: “I can see a grain of rice on the counter”
With: “Are you serious?”
Then there were her recipes which I doctored to my hearts content. When everyone else produced a perfect Victoria Sponge cake with neat jam fillings, I presented a hap-hazard chocolate chip cake, with chocolate filling and decorated it with enough Smarties to give a three year old a migraine.
We bickered constantly. I produced my homework in crumpled sheets from my pockets and answered questions in the exam booklet as follows.
Give one reason why you would put a kitchen sink under a window?
So you can spy on the neighbours.
What is the best way to unblock a hoover?
Send your hamster up it to gnaw its way through.
She made things worse by making me sit alone, at the back of the classroom and intercepting all my notes.
Yes, Home Ec. was the bane of my existence, a class based on all the things I’d already been shown, with a teacher whose mind was occupied with beige slacks and how to make a perfectly symmetrical melon basket.
My mother unfortunately was in the middle of it all. Listening to me harp on about ridiculous levels of cleanliness and receiving notes home from my teacher about my slovenly ways and attitude problems (all completely unfounded as you can imagine.).
In the end I was banned from taking part in Home Ec. by my mother. I could do anything else, but she was not listening to either of us for another two years. It came out later that my mother had similar issues with her own Home Ec. Teacher and wasn't able to cope with the reminder.
In fact at the final parent-teacher conference, when my teacher was harping on about my homework being crumpled and all the papers I kept in my pockets my mother interrupted her to say.
“Does she have bad grades?”
“Does she talk in class?”
“Well no, but-“
“Does she do her homework?”
“Yes, but I mean the pockets”
“Well” my mother said, standing up from the desk and delving her hands into her pockets. She started piling up the contents from her pockets on the table. Scrap, upon scrap of folded crumpled papers “She certainly doesn't pick it up of the floor.”
She then stuffed the papers back in her pockets and marched out with her head in the air. I think she was projecting. That was the confrontation she always wanted to have with her own Home Ec. Teacher. Either way, if I ever get the chance, I plan on doing the exact same thing.