I stared forlornly at the discipline file of Tiffany Rodriguez – a 16 year old with a baby daughter. With the minimal possible energy I scrawled “Pd 6, rm 232, Told teacher to ‘Shut the fuck up!'”
“It never stops,” I murmured.
“No, it does not, my friend,” replied Dave, who was sitting nearby.
“One asshole after another,” I grumbled.
“Hey,” said Dave perkily, “you ever call a parent and it’s like a hip-hop song playing instead of a ring?”
“Yeah.” I smiled because David and hip-hop don’t mix, so I knew I was going to enjoy the coming juxtaposition.
“And then it says like (imitating robotic female voice) ‘Please.. Leave… A.. Message.. For…’, and then you hear, (tough voice) ‘Kuuuntry!'”
David continued, “I had to cover the phone and lean over to the kid and say, “Uhhh… is your mom… ‘Country?’ And the kids like, ‘Oh! Mmm mmm.'”
I closed my eyes and smiled broadly. Oh, were it not for the humor..
“So, I was just visiting Chief Big Hands,” said Dave, referring to one of the many not-so-flattering physical features of our principal. “I took Kquaela (a girl coming off a suspension) and her mom down there to see her, and I’m trying not to smile as she starts talking.” Our chief’s oratory ability is the stuff of infamy, ranking somewhere between George W Bush and Lou Ferrigno.
Dave continued, “Because I know if Kquaela sees me smile she’s gonna be like, ‘Look at that motherfucker, he thinks this shit is funny’. And it was funny. I mean, that woman is like a tape-recorder. It’s exactly the same every time. ‘You’re such pretty girl… What do you want to be when you grow up? My little girls at home…’ I mean, even a comedian changes his schtick every once in a while.”
A conference is supposed to be held between the principal and a guardian of the child after every suspension, but it can also be held by a “principle’s designee”. So of course, we designees end up conducting all the conferences. So I was a bit shocked to hear that Dave had actually disturbed the Chief from her slumber.
“Let her earn her Ho Ho’s,” said Dave, referring to her snack of choice. Word is that she is always eating something – Chinese food, Ho Ho’s, a six foot hoagie, or the nearest child. But besides eating, we are not exactly sure what she does. She’s never in the halls. I can’t remember the last time I’ve spoken to her or been spoken to by her. And she’s never had a single meeting with the deans for the 3 years I’ve been there, no matter how bad things get. Ever. Basically, she fiddles with her Chow Mein, while Rome burns.
Oh. But she does do one other thing, and that is hire someone else to completely reorganize the entire school every single year, in a desperate attempt to look like she is trying to improve things – as if the real key to education has just been discovered each August – and all that really changes is everyone’s room, professional title, and phone number. The school is also out $250,000, and all our real problems are ignored for another year.
This year’s strategy was to separate the students and teachers into color-coded “communities” and require us to attend professional development meetings every single day. In today’s meeting, our AP was babbling on about how we have to capture the students’ interest. If they’re bored they can’t learn, and they all really want to do is learn.
“You have to connect to them. Like, I always say something interesting, like when I’m teaching them about Russia, I tell them how Catherine the Great died because she tried to have sex with a horse, and they’re all very interested in that.” Most peoples’ faces didn’t even change expression, although there were a couple confused looks from those who were actually listening. But he wasn’t done, “And what is that one STD? Oh yeah, Syphilis! So about how syphilis came from Europe because people were having sex with dogs over there. You have to get their attention.”
A large Italian lady spoke loudly towards the ceiling, “Is he outta his mind?”
Another teacher spoke up to no one in particular, “So we just have to include more sex with animals in our lessons.”
Another turned to me, “Aren’t you glad you decided to show up today, Pistol?”
Back at the deans office, we had to respond to two fights, a kid called me an “ass” to my face, pronouncing the word with relish, and Dave and I discussed the dazzling synthesis that is Vladimir Nabakov’s Pale Fire.