Saturday, November 11, 2006

Absolute Power

Yesterday I brought my young daughter to work with me. My alternative was not to come in at all.

As I was with my daughter, I went to the Assistant Principal of Organization to request that I not be given any coverages. She was not in, so I decided to mention it to her secretary.

"I don't know about that," she said.

"Well, why not?" I asked. "I always do them when you ask me and we're only talking about one day here."

In front of my ten-year-old daughter, she announced, "I don't know about bringing your daughter to school. We have to worry about insurance."

I'll have taught 22 years come February. I've seen hundreds of my colleagues bring their kids in. This was the first teaching day I've ever done so. It wasn't my fault Chancellor Klein felt it was so crucial to open on Veteran's Day.

"Well, you can send me home then," I told her.

"You don't have to get sarcastic," she said.

"I'm not being sarcastic," I told her.

"Well, it sounded sarcastic to me," she said.

Perhaps she thought I was just going to leave my little daughter to hang out at the gas station by herself while I went to teach. Who knows?

Henry Kissinger said, "University politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small." While he's not my hero or anything, he hit the nail on the head. I've seen teachers become imperious and aloof overnight when they became assistant principals. And this school secretary feels completely comfortable trying to intimidate me simply because her job entails sitting one door west of the principal's office.

You'd think she was famous and powerful, like a gargoyle at a landmark building or something.
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