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8th May
posted by amber

One Day in School

The job just got worse and worse. Most days he could hardly bear to drag himself out of bed and to the school. The inane chatter of the other teachers in the staff room was repugnant to him. Most of them were no better than the hippy-dippy students, in favour of abolishing dress codes and exams and respect.

He’d heard them referring to him as an ‘old fogey,’ but he wasn’t that much older than they were in years. Maturity was another matter. It was the war that had taught him the value of respect and discipline. It was the war that bought them the freedom that they had, but none of them realized it. Instead it was ‘ban the bomb’ and forgive the rapists and murderers because they’d had a hard childhood, boo hoo.

He expected it from his students, all of them too young to know what life was really about, but his fellow teachers were supposed to be adults.

No, he didn’t blame his students for the hell his job had become. It was in their nature to be restless goof-offs, to be more interested in their hormones than in learning. They just needed a steady hand at the helm.

But how was he supposed to be a steady hand when the administration kept expecting him to do so many more things than teaching? Today he was handing out sign-up sheets for students wanting to volunteer to help with the Prom – for god’s sake. And he had to end the class 15 minutes early so everyone had time to get to the auditorium for a stupid pep rally.

The year was coming to an end and it was important to review all the equations that might be on the final exam – that was the important thing now. They were behind – all the snow days this winter, and the day they had off to attend the funeral of a teacher who’d retired three years ago whom most of them didn’t know, and the rash of fire alarms which had sent them all out into the parking lot five times before they caught the idiot who was doing it. And now, with crunch time coming, they all had spring fever and baseball fever and prom fever and he could not get them to settle down and learn.

Ten minutes into the class, he had to stop teaching so that everyone could listen to an announcement over the PA about a field trip to the museum, and five minutes later there was another announcement, about the pep rally, and five minutes after that yet another announcement, not even for the students, but reminding all staff members that teachers planning summer school sessions had just three more days to turn in their lesson plans, something which easily could have been handled by a notice in the staff room or by memos to the individual teachers.

He saw red.

Even as he was jumping up onto the counter beneath the PA speaker, he knew he was over-reacting, he knew he’d be a laughing-stock to his students, but he couldn’t control himself.

He ripped the speaker off the wall and threw it into the trash can.

Amazingly, his students were quiet and attentive and extremely well-behaved for the rest of the period.

StoryADay’s challenge today was to write about a real person, and I have written a true story about a high school teacher of mine.

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