So when I got into high school you HAD to choose a language class. In one of my all time brilliant moves I decided to take Italian. On the bright side, unlike my best friend, I did not get stuck in French. But for all that I learned of Italian I might have well taken a French class. I struggled my Freshman year, and ended up staying late twice a week with a few other students to get extra lessons from my teacher. I managed to pull through and pass the class, but nothing could have prepared me for Frances Misciagna’s Italian class the next two years.
The first thing was that voice. It was nails on a chalkboard. It was the kind of voice you would hear in a nightmare that would cause you to wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. Her son was a year ahead of me in school, and I always felt bad for him for having to wake up to that voice nearly every day of his life. Plus she had to be near 60 when I had her as a teacher and was out of touch with humanity, I’m sure having her as a parent when your a teenager was no more fun.
The second thing was the ability of the class to distract her. I swear I heard about her vacations in Italy, or her life growing up in Italy more then I ever needed to. She was probably somewhat senile, because somehow she could never remember that she told us the same god dam stories every other week. Since no one in my class really cared anyway, they would just make a game out of how quickly and how long they could drag her off topic. I probably would have done better on tests about her life then actual Italian.
The third thing was that she was a teacher who was out the door at 3, so don’t expect any extra help if you actually needed it. So you got a class full of her talking about her life, and then the next day she would just move on to the next subject. She also called my parents so much that they started feeling bad for me and realized that she was pretty much insane. She must have called my house and gotten my brother on the phone when my parents weren’t home. Thus she decided that I had him lie to her, and she proceeded to call my house at 11 PM. She then kept one of my parents (who both woke up early for their jobs) on the phone for nearly an hour bitching about me. One time my mom picked me up from school, and saw her coming down the hallway and she proceeded to run the other way.
How out of it was she? During my Junior year she was so upset at me that she got the school to put my real scores on my report card. You see my school realized that if you scored low enough below 50 that it would become almost impossible for you to pass. So anything below 50 would just get a 50 rating on your report card. I abused the hell out of this by working hard to begin the year, and then slacking off cause no matter how bad I did I would pass anyway. Well it was possible for teachers to request the real grade go on report cards and she did. So my Italian 3 grades went 50-22-18-12-8 before I passed the regents and passed for the year.
During the time when I had a 12 average she kicked me out of the class during a test. I had only signed my name to the test, and my friend thought it would be funny if he filled out the rest of the test. So she hands me back the test with an 82 score on it and congratulates me on working hard and finally starting to turn it around. She of course conveniently missed that the handwriting on everything but the signature wasn’t mine. The signature didn’t even match the rest of the page. My friend was laughing so hard he nearly fell out of his chair, and she never realized why.
I’ve mentioned the Regents, you see in NY the Regents tests replace some Finals. This means that for those classes if you passed the Regents tests you passed for the year automatically. For language classes it was the 3rd year (Junior year) class that got the regents test. At the time I was the only student in any of her classes that might fail. The way the school had it set up was that if you failed the class and there wasn’t enough students, you went to summer school at a different school. I did this the year before following Italian 2. Well when it involved failing both the class for the year and the regents test you HAD to go to summer school at that school. That meant she would have had to cancel all her plans for the summer to spend 5 weeks teaching just me in summer school. But since she graded the tests, it was in her best interests for me to pass. I was one of the few people to get a perfect score on the spoken part of the test. Which meant all I had to do was get the multiple choice on the rest of the test half right.
My families run ins with her didn’t stop there. My one cousin was struggling with Italian and since she was a brat and they were loaded they got her a tutor. Well they mention in passing that they are paying for this tutor and all she does is talk about growing up in Italy and going on vacation in Italy. So I say “That sounds a lot like Ms Misciagna” and they want to know how I knew her name. I just laugh and my mom even tells her sister to just fire her cause she’s a horrible teacher. I don’t know what happened after that though.
I just remembered all of this after reading her reviews at ratemyteacher.com, as most of them are hilariously right on spot when it comes to her.