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Stop your dog from fleeing out of the door
I absolutely could not stand one of my Spanish teachers. She was a short, grumpy lady who had never been anywhere near Latin America—nor was she of Hispanic descent—but walked around like she was Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón. Being around her was irritating because I liked 99% of my teachers—from kindergarten all the way to grad school. There were only three exceptions—that Spanish teacher, my third-grade teacher who the entire student population didn’t like (including my older brother who was unlucky enough to be in her class seven years before me) and an English professor in college.
That Spanish teacher gave me a failing test grade simply because I didn’t walk to the front of the classroom within the last 60 seconds to turn it in. I arrived around the 62nd mark. I couldn’t believe it. Up until that point, I’d had an A-/B+ average in Spanish, which I’d been taking since eighth grade. Failing this test would significantly lower my grade. I was pissed. The next time she stepped outside of class to take a break, I walked to the door and locked it. I sat back down. The class cracked up laughing, and no one would open the door. I crossed my legs, still stewing about failing that test. I can’t remember who eventually opened the door, but I believe another instructor came to the door and asked us to open it.
I glared from the back of the classroom, unapologetically. And I mouthed off on my way out the door with a smirk on my face. Other students still cackled at my defiance. I puffed out my chest a little bit, knowing I got away with it. Only problem was I didn’t. A few weeks later, my mother showed up for Report Card Day. (Generation Z probably has no clue what that is, but Millennials and Generation Xers know it well.) She walked into my homeroom class, bragging about me being an A-student and how she’d be stunned if I ever got a bad grade. My homeroom teacher smiled and agreed. Then she handed my report card to my mother: my Spanish teacher had given me my first “D.” My mother and I both gawked at that piece of paper in astonishment.
As I walked alongside my mother going from class to class while she met all of my other instructors, I walked ahead of her when we got to this Spanish class. I walked into that classroom and immediately started telling that Spanish teacher exactly what I thought of her. My mother whipped her head around, stared at me in disbelief and marched us both out of the classroom. I had that same snide locked-a-teacher-out-of-class smile on my face, thinking I’d gotten away with being rebellious twice.
And then my mother yanked my arm up and backed me into a nearby set of steps, in full view of anybody walking by. Although I don’t remember what she whispered into my ear, I know it wasn’t “Te amo, hija.” Just like that, my head deflated back to Earth—where you can’t get away with everything and rules are rules. She told me in no uncertain terms would I ever talk to any teacher like that again.
I sighed. I respected my mother way more than I couldn’t stand that teacher. I obliged. Although my mother never found out I locked my teacher out of a classroom, I approached the rest of the school year like my mother was sitting next to me in class. I was quiet and still irritated, but I behaved. My mother was still stunned I did it at all. In her mind, she couldn’t dream of me misbehaving when she wasn’t around. In my teenage mind, if I didn’t get caught, game on!
And that is where me and my dog have a lot in common. Although I have happily bragged about how easy it was for me to train my Hound mix, I’ve glanced at this dog around other people when she doesn’t think my eyes are on her. Although fully trained and well-behaved around me, my four-legged roommate is a rebel. And I found that out this weekend when she fled out of my back door not once, but twice, the millisecond my mother opened the back door.