I was one of those annoying kids who gathered the neighborhood and forced them to play school with me. My grandmother helped me and I would make math and reading books from used paper my dad brought home from the office. I would copy math problems in one, and write stories and make up reading questions in the other.
Since most of the neighborhood was made up of boys, I would agree to play with them if they played school with me and “played right.” If they didn’t, I would never play with them again.
They must have all been alpha males (or yellow-belly cowards) because none of them wanted to be the soldier/Indian/robber who died in their gun play. Sometimes they needed a human sacrifice to go get a stray baseball/football/kite from the neighbor’s yard, the one with the man-eating Chihuahuas.
When they cheated me of equal play, I would refuse them the next time. I made them beg and super, double-dog promise before I agreed, always on my terms. First, we played school, THEN I would play guns with them or go get their stupid ball.
I always got my justice.
I started teaching when I was twenty-one and retired when I was fifty-eight. I loved my profession, the thousands of children who “played school” with me and the thousands of lessons I presented to them, but it all started with a handful of stinky, sweaty boys who I blackmailed into sitting on my dainty little play table chairs and who I forced to call me teacher.