Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm a sucker, part 2 of a million

OK, here's something that made me a little upset.

Yesterday, about ten minutes into fifth period, two guys walked into my classroom, just stood there. They were big, obnoxious, and probably dumb. I had no idea who they were.

"Thanks for dropping by, guys," I said. "Now get out."

They made no move to leave. Just stood there, started saying something unintelligible. I walked over, stood nose to nose with the smaller one. "Get out," I said, hoping to sound stern and intimidating. He didn't budge. Man, I don't have time to deal with this, I thought. So I slowly started pushing him towards the other guy, towards the door.

"Man, get your fucking hands off me!" he yelled. "Don't fucking touch me!"

I had both of them by the door. They weren't really resisting. I wouldn't have been able to push them out if they did resist. But they weren't going without assailing me with a few choice words and making a scene. As soon as they were in the hall, I slammed my door shut and walked into my classroom.

Fifth period is my honors class, mostly girls. They sat there looking at me, without the usual chattiness that greets me whenever I step into the hall for something.

I wouldn't say I was out of breath, but I was breathing a little hard. My voice was going to sound a little shaky, I knew. There had been no real danger, but the adrenaline had kicked in a little.

"Yeah, OK," I said, slapping my hands together a few times. "Who wants to save this school for those two guys? Because I sure as hell don't."

Everyone in the room knew what I was talking about. The day before, a plan had been released to shut down our school and turn it into four small schools. It's a plan being pushed by our alderman, who hates both the students and the teachers of our building. I'm not sure who she hates more, but I think it's the kids.

Lots of teachers in the building are now springing into action, hoping to mount some sort of defense against this proposal. I'm not going to write too much about it, mostly because I don't know too many details. But I'm also not going to participate in the effort to save the school. Tried that once. It failed, made things worse. So, I'm staying out of it. Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully I'll have a job somewhere. Most likely I will, I like to kid myself.

"But what will happen to us?" one of my usually quiet girls asked. Apparently, many teachers are talking to students about this, trying to mobilize them by repeating unsubstantiated rumors.

"I'm sure you'll be fine," I said. "I mean, most of you in this room are good students. You have good grades, good attendance. If this thing were to happen, even if they closed down the school at the end of this year, I'm sure they'd let you come back in the fall for your senior year."

They didn't look like they believed me. "I mean, look. The reason this school has a bad reputation and the neighborhood wants it changed into a high-performing college prep school is because of guys like that," I said, pointing into the hallway. "Those of you in here, who have hopes and dreams, who are working hard, there will always be a place for you."

"What about you?" someone asked. "Won't you be fired?"

"I don't know. Probably. But that's a good thing," I said. "If I'm a good teacher, I'm sure I'll get hired back. If not here, then somewhere. But all the lousy teachers, well, hopefully they won't get rehired."

I looked at the clock. Damn, another wasted 10 minutes. "Let's get back to the lesson," I said. "I really, really, don't want to talk about that stuff. Mostly because I don't know what I'm talking about. Everything I just told you is my opinion, based on no facts at all. So don't go around telling people that I gave you any information, because I didn't. All I really want to do is teach. You. Right now."


Levois said...

Sounds almost like the school I attended many years ago. It was somewhat lawless. It's a shame these schools go downhill in the way that you described.

mr. christian said...

that sucks. hope it didn't ruin your weekend. You have so many good and hopeful students, I sometimes forget what thugs you have to deal with sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm just uninformed about this subject, but why is it that 4 smaller schools would be better than one school? Then there are 4x as many administrations, and isn't that the downside of school to begin with?

appopt said...

I'm just as uninformed on this as you. One philosophy I have is that smaller class sizes are smaller, but small schools don't guarantee that.