I was a teacher for short, busy bits of my life in Hawaii; a sort of Have Chalk, Will Travel mercenary. I taught English, Math, and Science as a contract/substitute teacher for all sizes of students: K thru Seniors – Senior Citizens that is: I taught two terms of GED Math and Science to Asian Senior Citizens. I taught at posh Punahou Academy (Barack Obama’s High School), several church-run schools, some reasonably safe public schools and one or two scary public schools. So I got somewhat used to trying to capture and keep the attention of students of all ages from all sorts of backgrounds – except I had a hard time with precocious teenage girls.
I used to love teenage girls -when I was a teenage boy. Looking back though, I recall some really horrid young women I went to school with; girls who seemed to devote much time to trying to discomfort male teachers. In particular Brenda K~ comes to mind. At age 13, Brenda was an accomplished teasing Siren. She scorned we boys, her classmates. She had higher education in mind. With a few inches of unbuttoned blouse and languidly arranged legs, she would lead astray poor Mr. W~, our Math and Home Room teacher, and blushing, he would capsize.
But as these things sometimes happen, I too became a target of schoolgirl Sirens.
For part of one summer I taught remedial Algebra to 8th Graders at Iolani, a rather conservative, excellent Episcopalian school in Honolulu. The remedial class was offered to children who had failed their 8th Grade Math courses and could not be promoted to the next Grades without passing the course. So there was a lot of pressure on the students and me. The classes were gruelling- several hours a day for three weeks.
In one of my classes there was a 13 year-old girl, barely a woman, who took a strong liking to me. She would blush when i addressed questions to her and I would try to gently win answers out of her without embarrassing her too much. She repaid my kindness by punching me. I would walk past her desk to another student and Pow! she landed a punch on my arm. A love swat, I suppose. After three punches, I had to send her to the counsellors, which resulted in her glowering at me for the rest of the course. Love does not survive betrayal.
I much preferred the punches of an infatuated girl to the Sirens of St Andrews Priory School, a very posh, prestigious Christian School for girls, where I won a two week assignment covering for a Senior Math class teacher who was on vacation. I had not taught a class of young women before. It was a horrible experience. To use an appropriate venereal (hunting) term: there was a voluptuous of vixens in the front row who must have read Brenda K~’s autobiography. Blouses undone’ legs arranged becomingly; seductive skills focused on me. I lasted two classes. I complained to the Principal. But somehow the matter became my problem: perhaps the solution was not to discipline the young women, but for me to not be so charming? Perhaps I should grow a non-sexy American accent? Perhaps I should become old and ugly? In the end, I solved the problem by saying Aloha to those siren wahines, and quit to let some other man get shipwrecked.