Wednesday, October 01, 2014


I've been chapter leader now for five years. There are a lot of challenges having a job like that in a large school. Things are always happening. You get notices in your box to show up for this meeting, that meeting, and 500 other meetings. You go, because it's your job.

But if you're in a school like mine and you work in the trailer, it can be very trying. Imagine you're in the principal's office, deep in conference about something very important. Or even something not that important. It really makes no difference, because when the bell rings, you have to pick up your stuff and run like hell to the trailers. This is pretty tough when the halls are crowded, and 15 teenagers have a Very Important Social Happening right by the stairway.

I mean, you can't just knock people down and climb over them. People frown upon that sort of behavior. And if Campbell Brown got a hold of it, forget about it, you'd be on page 6 of the Post every day for a year. Sometimes you're lucky. I was once with a female teacher of diminutive stature who claimed to hail from the Bronx, and parted the crowd before me as though it were the proverbial Red Sea. But alas, I've never lived in the Bronx, and on my own I have to muddle through as best I can.

I am quite a sight, with my bag full of books and who knows what else, dashing down the hall as fast as I can.  Sometimes I could get out of the building and run outside, largely unobstructed. Although if the odd gate is locked sometimes you have to backtrack. It's particularly tough on teachers like me when we're late, because I give the kids an awfully hard time about being late. And every little thing I've said to them is recorded in their photographic memories and recited back verbatim on those occasions.

However, since I've been unceremoniously ousted from the trailer and placed in a classroom, things have changed. When the bell rings I still panic, but I get a mental image of where I have to go and I relax a bit. I can actually walk to my next class without fear of being late. What have I done to deserve such privilege?

And there's one more thing that makes it all worthwhile. One of my colleagues happens to also be my arch-nemesis.  She used to park right outside my trailer before my period 9 class, and shout during passing, "I'm going home now!" In fact, she'd also get in her car, pull out a little, and say, "I just want you to know that I'm about to get in my car and drive away."

But the tables have turned. Now I finish after period 8 and she has to stay. I usually text her each and every excruciating detail of my exit. When I open the back of my car to dump my bag, she knows. When I start my car, she knows. When I pull away, she knows. She objects to this, and claims it's unfair. She says there's no comparison to what she used to do. But it feels right to me.

Of course next year, with one itsy-bitsy schedule change, she'll be shouting into my trailer again. We're teachers and we live dangerously. We never know what the next moment is going to bring. 
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