Student Life

Teacher wonders if student raising hand or “just stretching”

Last Monday Jan Patterson, PHS English teacher of seven years, resigned after a humiliating experience in her English I class. The Dungeon’s reporting team managed to get the story of what really happened that fateful day.

When class began, it seemed like any other. Four students fell asleep, two ate their lunches, and maybe three of them tried to pay attention. So when Patterson asked how The Odyssey created the hero cycle, she expected little participation. But what she received was far more concerning than what she bargained for.

The entire classroom was a wasteland, barren of answers, except for one, lone arm stuck in the air in the back of the classroom. That arm belonged to the one freshman that would cause Patterson’s downfall—Adam Hall. Although he was the only person in the room with a hand up, Patterson hesitated, noticing the ambiguity of the gesture.

“When I first saw him, I was filled with relief,” Patterson said. “But after taking a second look, I realized this motion could mean many things.” She didn’t know if he was raising his hand, or simply stretching.

Bystanders say that worry was clearly showing on her face, as she raised her arm to call on Hall. When his name came out of her mouth, he sat up, as if preparing to answer the question, giving Patterson a brief reprieve from the stress. But when he opened his mouth, all that came out was “Sorry, I was just stretching.”

When Patterson heard a single laugh burst from the back of the room, she knew her career had just been shattered beyond repair. “I knew that if I had shown my face in that classroom again, I would have met nothing but mockery.”

We’re very sad to see her go, but it’s hard to blame Patterson for leaving. Many teachers have cracked under pressure worse than this, and it’s nice to see her leave with at least part of her dignity still intact.

boy-raising-hand-at-school

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