Mistress of the Mix for Friday: Too Cool For School


I've only been kicked out of three classes in my life. Permanently, I mean. I guess I was just too cool for school.

The first time was in the eighth grade, and I briefly mentioned it in a recent column, when I wrote about the events that led up to the moment I met my husband on a soccer field after transferring to a new junior high. The punishment for standing up in English class and telling the teacher to eff off while flipping her the double bird was being removed from her class permanently, and getting suspended from school for a week. Gotta be honest, it didn't really seem like punishment to me. I also found a new school across the city to attend ninth grade. The reason I behaved so atrociously was that she'd criticized a creative writing assignment I'd turned in, giving me a C- on a deeply emotional story of a young woman who commits suicide on a ferry because I deliberately switched from past to present tense as she climbed over the railing and jumped to her death in Puget Sound. I guess you could say she gave me a bad review, and I followed up with a rebuttal.

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Valerie Ing
Valerie Ing has been the Northern California Program Coordinator for Jefferson Public Radio in Redding for 14 years and can often be found serving as Mistress of Ceremonies at the Cascade Theatre. For her, ultimate satisfaction comes from a perfect segue. She and her husband are parents to a couple of college students and a pair of West Highland Terriers, and Valerie can’t imagine life without them or music. The Mistress of the Mix wakes up every day with a song in her head, she sings in the shower and at the top of her lungs in the car.
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13 Responses

  1. Beverly Stafford says:

    A couple of old songs come to mind:
    Mr. Lee
    Teacher’s Pet
    School Days

  2. Eleanor Townsend says:

    Well I, of course, never did anything wrong in any school. So I am skipping your actual question and asking to include “‘Rachmaninoff: ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini: Variation 18′” (my excuse being you did mention his work)

    Also known as “The Story of Three Loves”.

    Listen and Weep, what with Valentine’s Day coming up and all.

    Thanks for another great story, Valerie! (And you have so very many!!)

    • Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

      What a great idea! Done! In fact, I also included the most famous movement of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto too! It’s the one Eric Carmen borrowed for his hit pop song “All By Myself!”

  3. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    My cure for the troublemaker? GIVE ‘EM A SOLO!! I’m kidding, but in truth it worked more than once.

    • Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

      YES!!!!! I wish you’d been my high school history teacher!

      • Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

        Oh Val . . . . had to laugh at that one. One of my (many)soap boxes , or maybe it’s a tenant of belief, is that if you want to know the history of a country or an era, LOOK AT THEIR ARTS!! Given that some years I had all incoming 6th graders for 9 weeks, I decided the best music education I could give them was the GREAT AMERICAN MUSICAL. More than once when I was talking about what we were going to see, a kid would raise their hand and ask, “Ms. Jacoby, is this music or history!”

  4. Candace C says:

    I love that you pick out the “troublemaker” kid and I love your stories. I could pull up a chair and listen to to you all day long.

  5. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    P.S. If you were a child of the ’40’s (ahem!) you would recognize many of the classical themes, not only from Rachmaninoff but from Chopin, Liszt, and so on and so forth. They were made into the popular songs of the day: I.E., “Could the be Moonlove?” Tonight we Love.” “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.” even the theme song for “THE FBI IN WAR AND PEACE.” (this was WWII and radio, remember) was the theme from Love for three Oranges, suite by Prokofiev. Great way to remember classical themes: put word to ’em!! Didn’t’ work quite so well for Stravinsky and Schoenberg. LOL

    • Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

      But you know who probably did more to instill all those great classical themes into young people? Warner Bros cartoons!!!

  6. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    I so love this article Valerie. And I love it more because I listen to you every day and you talk about the lives of the composers whose work you share on the radio. You let us relate to these extraordinary people on a human level.
    Too much of any teacher’s day is taken with maintaining order with a bunch of individuals, period after period so I can’t applaud your reaction to criticism in a a classroom…disrespecting a teacher is bad karma, but you moved on to bigger and better things.
    Having the skills to be a broadcaster is a skill and a gift. Training and experience and that certain something that most people lack! I’m so happy to are willing to share your knowledge with young people.

  7. Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

    You’re right Joanne, and I was definitely disrespectful if that 8th grade teacher, and that doesn’t deserve applause. I’m only pointing out the irony that the three teachers who couldn’t handle hurricane Val (and I AM a handful!) were the ones who taught the subjects that became my life’s work. Pure irony.

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