I took algebra one in the eighth grade. My teacher’s name was Mrs. McGinley. Sadly, she passed away over the summer. She died at the age of 57, although as a thirteen year old in the eighth grade, I always thought she was much older.
Mrs. McGinley had poor handwriting, long pointy nails, and blond streaky hair. She was also very overweight. My math class took place during the period right before lunch and she had no problem eating right in front of us. I remember some days she would finish her entire lunch, sandwich and all, amid teaching the slope formula. She did however allow us to also eat during class which was against the rules at our school.
She only wore about seven or eight different dresses which she alternated throughout the weeks. The dresses themselves were incredibly out of style and simply draped over her body. I believe the term for these dresses is a moo moo. However, Mrs. McGinley gave them her own flare by adding a silk scarf, a long necklace, or headband. As cruel school children we used to joke around and say that Mrs. McGinley had a specific moo moo for each day of the week. She had her Monday moo moo, her Tuesday moo moo, her Wednesday moo moo, and so forth. When Mrs. McGinley got a new dress, word spread like wildfire. Kids would peek into her classroom window to get a personal look at the latest moo moo.
We never really took her seriously. We weren’t afraid of her, not even when she yelled at us, and her yelling was pretty scary. She didn’t get angry often but when we crossed the line, she made sure we knew it. A select few boys in the class passed notes around to the rest of us with information about the practical joke for the day. At a designated time, we would do anything from stand up and clap to break into song. Our favorite song was All You Wanted by Michelle Branch. I believe one time we even attempted to all stand up and just walk out of the room. She loved the class clowns. Mrs. McGinley always laughed at our jokes. She was generally a very kind, happy person, more concerned with teaching us life lessons than isolating variables.
She allowed the girls to decorate her classroom for every holiday. I hardly wrote down a single note in that math class because I was always either taking down decorations, making decorations, or putting them up. Around the last month of school, I spent the majority of class time cleaning out and organizing her closet. Needless to say, I had a tutor over the summer so I didn’t have to retake algebra one in high school.
If I were to go back and visit that school, it would honestly only be to visit Mrs. McGinley. It’s upsetting to think that not only is she no longer there but, she is no longer on this earth with us. I know she would have genuinely cared about my life and what I’ve been doing with it. She genuinely cared about every single one of her students. As much as I didn’t like her teaching methods at the time and as much as we all took advantage of her, looking back, she was a pretty cool person and I hope she left this earth with fond memories of her students because I will forever have fond memories of Mrs. Mcginley, my algebra teacher.