You Don’t Scare Me

Instructor Snow kept all of us very consistent. Everyone arrived before class, took the same seats each time and stayed mostly quiet except when called on. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach before class, during class and while I relived the class in my head on the way to Lucy’s class. If you didn’t complete the readings, you were probably not prepared to answer the questions Mr. Snow asked. The assignments were not creative but did reinforce the facts in the text. The first time I was called on, I could feel my cheeks flush and the slight pause that occurred before I opened my mouth to answer felt like ten minutes. Mr. Snow moved forward after my answer, so I guess it was correct. I trembled for a few minutes before I resurfaced to hear what he was saying. A small group of us were all in Lucy’s class next, so we walked over to that building together, discussing the extreme stiffness of the class.

Lucy gave an extra assignment to the class that week, but I looked forward to writing another short piece. The subject was meant for Halloween but it seemed uniquely suited to our previous class. The subject was a paper about what scared us. A couple of chuckles that couldn’t be suppressed slipped out and Lucy paused for a moment and looked thoughtful. Lucy admitted that she was surprised that asking us to write about something scary caused laughter. She wasn’t speaking in an accusatory voice, more like perplexed.

I hesitantly spoke up and told Lucy that there could be scary things about school or classes. She asked for more clarity. I hesitated and another classmate talked about the possibility that a few people in the class might write about the same person and it was an instructor. Lucy gasped. I quickly added that it wasn’t her and it wasn’t so much the school work as the personality presenting the class in such a strict manner.

Lucy started to laugh a little and said she understood. Lucy walked back to the front of the classroom and waited about ten seconds before admitting that she had been taught by Mr. Snow in the past. This time, it was our turn to gasp. When the nervous giggling ended, Lucy moved on to the next discussion.

I guess Mr. Snow’s reputation was well known. Maybe it was just a rite of passage to get through his class. We all have difficult tasks in life that we look back at with a pride of accomplishment. I was really hoping it would be worth it.

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