the circular runner

I Am Going to be a Major Pain in the Ass for My Unborn Son…

In humor, life, observations, teaching & education, Uncategorized on January 13, 2012 at 10:49 am

i am spratacus, I am.

OK, so I teach adults–young adults, mainly–and I do this because I don’t love dealing with parents, or at least, I don’t love dealing with the fear of parents complaining because I assign too much or too little homework. I taught high school for a year, and beside the irritating nun who was my department chair, the only thing I really hated about the job was the way my vice-principal worried about our parents. It was a Catholic school, so it was private, which meant that parent-money supported us, but sometimes I felt like I was working a retail job where the customer was always right. We were never officially told how to run our classrooms, but if a parent complained about excessive assignments, or if a student felt her grade was unfair and her parent said as much to our VP, then he would “conference” with the teacher in question to get at “best practices,” which then lead to a “best practices” meeting for the whole staff. Let me say this now: the phrase, “best practices” with its corporate smell and its pedigree in powerpoint presentations has no place in a school setting. I would even go as far as saying that curse-words, which are a complete no-no at the high school level, are nowhere near as dirty as the words, “best practices.” Principals of the world, be principled. I would advise you all to let out a collective FUCK before you ever let even one corporate-lingo-lame-o word escape your lips. Come on, the future generations need some guidance here.

Professionally speaking, my feelings about trying to please parents has limited my job possibilities. It’s why I teach alternative adult education in an nontraditional setting–how’s that for corporate-speak? But personally, I might not be able to avoid the bullet. The son my wife is currently carrying is in for it because his pops is on the loose. You see, I am going to be one of those parents I hate as an educator, but not for the same reasons. I don’t think I’d ever complain about a teacher’s grading policies or about the amount of homework assigned. As a teacher myself, my position will be to make the best of the situation and to help my boy do the same. No, my problem will probably be with the administrators.

Let me explain why: one of the centers I work out of is housed in a middle school. Usually, I don’t get there until evening when the kids are gone, but a few months ago, I had to go in during the school day, and that’s when I saw it, the reason why when my son has his first teacher-parent conferences, my wife is going to have to put me on a leash and tether me to a pole outside. I turned the corner and saw a teacher walking in front of a group of students walking single-file with a teachers-aide bringing up the rear. Most people would think this makes sense. It teaches order, keeps the kids from disrupting other classes. I get it. I remember having to walk in single-file formation as a kid.  But as an adult, I see that and I think, jail or chain-gang. Can you see where this is going?

I had the same feeling teaching high school.  I remember filing into the gym for pep-rallies and watching the administrators stand on the gym-floor hands behind back, walkie-talkies at the ready, scanning the room for potential disruptions. Like the other teachers, I would sit in the bleachers with my kids, but unlike them, I didn’t want to just sit there and watch. I wanted to lead a revolt. I wanted to let out a rebel-yell to the Deans of Discipline and to the Best-Practice-Loving VP and to my annoying nun and tell them all that they weren’t the bosses of us. Mind you, I was in my late-20s at the time, a responsible adult, and yet I was fancying myself a modern-day Spartacus leading the slave-adolescents out of tyranny. What’s my name? I am Spartacus, bitches!!

Now, do you get it? Do you understand why I fear for my unborn son’s future principal?

Listen, I know I’m probably the only one in that gym who wanted to rise up. The kids didn’t care. They took things in stride. Except for the real hard-asses on faculty, they were indifferent to us and rightfully so. And that’s the only thing that’s going to save my son, apart from wife muzzling me. Every evening, I’m going to fuming in some corner of the house, asking my boy if he is ok with the police state that is his elementary school, and he’s going to be looking at me like I am a lunatic. Still, I will be vigilant. If I sense a principal is a little to into the whole control thing, if she likes her walkie-talkie and single-file lines a little too much, I will speak my mind. I will lead the children on a walk-out.

What’s my name? I am Spratacus, bitches!!

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