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Some Teachers Are More Bear-able Than Others

, , , , , | Learning | April 5, 2018

When I was in high school, we had this eccentric teacher that pretty much did his own thing, to the point that he raised a few million dollars to buy the property adjacent to the school and build a fish hatchery, which also served as his classroom. He was beloved by the students and hated by the administration.

One of his yearly traditions was called the “Bear Test,” a 72-hour “test” for his senior wildlife biology class. The idea was that the students were stuck in the wilderness and had to find their way home while being hunted by a bear. The test included, among other things, the teacher dressing up as a bear and “hunting” the students. He would go to their homes and wake them up, go to their work, and hunt them during school. Nowhere was safe. If you saw him, you had to curl into a ball, and he would come poke you a few times and then wander off.

To make sure he only hunted the right students, he had his students wear these horrible-colored shirts. It was a color that most people don’t normally chose to wear. He was color-blind, and for him, the color stood out like a neon sign.

I was in my junior year and it was the first day of Bear Season. I was leaving my first class of the day and going to my second. The Bear Test kids were in small groups of two to five, for safety, darting quickly around campus, hugging the walls and peeking around corners to make sure it was safe. In the middle of the quad was a large grassy field that one of the kids was just brazenly strolling across like he hasn’t a care in the world. Then we heard it: the loud roar of The Bear. He came charging across the quad, gleefully screaming, “I’ve got you!” as he tackled the kid a few feet away from me.

The Bear then looked down into the screaming, terrified face of a freshman who had never heard of the Bear Test before, and just happened to have very poor choice in clothes.

The kid was okay, and after that, they made sure to make freshmen aware of what was happening. I heard from my little sister that, in his senior year, the kid took his Bear Test and went hunting the Bear to take his revenge via water pistol.

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