whatever works

I found myself summoned to the assistant principal’s office after school .

” Do you have a student named So-and-So in your period 4 class ? ”

” Yeah,” I said .

” What kind of a student is she ? ”

” She’s a good student . Never causes any trouble . Good grades . ”

” What kind of clothes does she wear ? “

What kind of clothes does she wear ?  This was trouble . At Virgil when they ask ,” Do you have a student  So-and-So …….. ? ” , that’s enough . You knew you were already walking the plank and the administrator on the other side of the desk was there merely to nudge you a little further along and into the water .

” What do you mean ‘What kind of clothes does she wear ?’ ,” I said .

” Does she wear short skirts ? ” he asked .

” I don’t know if she wears short skirts . I haven’t noticed what she wears .”

” She says you’re looking up her skirt ,” he said . Blank expression on his face . Waiting .

These are the moments when a teacher  should probably stop talking and refer the administator to the  union rep , or to a lawyer , but the accused  knows that the union , despite images of the ‘all-powerful teachers union’  that are extant in the media , won’t do much to help , if it does anything at all . So he/she  sits there and acts out the rest of the scene .

” That’s absurd ! “, I countered .

” Why would she say that if it wasn’t true ? ” , he said . This would be the appropriate moment to stand up , tell him to go to hell , and walk out . But , when you need the job , you sit there and take it . You’re just a teacher . At this point in the conversation  , I had the suffocating  feeling ,  it’s a twelve year old’s word against mine  .

End of conference . I’m admonished to have no contact with the student . I stand up to leave . No shaking of hands . Each adversary goes to his corner to document .

But I went against orders and talked to the girl . I told her why I was called in to the A.P.’s office . I asked her why she would say that  . She immediately began to cry . ” I didn’t want to get you in trouble ,” she blubbers . She means it . I’d told the A.P. that she doesn’t cause trouble . I explain to her that her lie  could get me in BIG trouble . Not a good thing . Why would she say that ?

Through her tears she told me .

She was desperate to get into Mr. J’s pre-algebra class . She had tried for weeks to transfer into his class . His class had space . But . The but was that she was required to take history and mine was the only history class offered .  To go to Mr. J’s pre-algebra she would need to transfer out of my class and the  counselors had told her that she couldn’t transfer out of my class . My class was the obstacle keeping her from her goal . She had tried to go through proper channels , but that wasn’t working for her . Her older sister suggested that she accuse me . That would get her out of my class .

” I didn’t mean to get you in trouble ,” she said again . No , she meant to get into J’s pre-algebra class .

I went back to the A.P.’s office with the story .  ” What do you think I should do ? ” he asked .

” Don’t transfer her out of my history class ,” I said . ” Word will spread and every student will get the word that false accusations  work .”

What happened ? It’s Virgil . What do you think happened ? He immediately transferred her out of my class and into the pre-algebra class that she wanted . Welcome to Virgil ! Whatever works !

That Assistant Principal became a principal and is now a School Board member .

[The student probably got into graduate school with no problem. Maybe she teaches math in some university and is by now beginning to plan for retirement]


Filed under humor

3 responses to “whatever works

  1. Interesting and very sad story, Dan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.