Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Eleventh Commandment

On Open School afternoon I got paired up with Miss Pitts. I'd just been out with a bunch of teachers to a great Chinese restaurant, where a Chinese teacher introduced me to the spiciest crabs I'd ever encountered. I was gasping for air, gulping down water, waving my hands over my mouth, but my colleague just sat there as though he were eating something very ordinary. I suppose, for him, it was.

We had to break laws to get back to school on time, and I ran up the stairs to make it to my room before the bell rang. I scooted into my seat, right by the window, and opened it as far as I could.

"Could you pleeeease close that window?" asked Miss Pitts.

"I'm really sweating here. Could you wait a little while?"

"I don't like having too much air in the room," she said, definitively.

I closed the window and went out into the hall, where I sat on a windowsill next to an open window. There were no parents yet, and I'd be able to see any that arrived.

Miss Pitts came out of the room. "Could you please come inside, Mr. Educator? I have a student with me and I'm not comfortable being alone with him."

"Tell him to leave, then," I told her.

"Oh, no, I couldn't possibly do that. I asked him to come and help me."

"Then let him stay."

"But I'm not comfortable. I'd like you to come into the room right now, please."

"I'll come in if you let me leave the window open," I told her.

"Well. We'll see about that!" she said.

Miss Pitts went and complained to our AP, who told her that as long as I met with any parents who showed up, she didn't care if I sat in the classroom, in the hall, or out of state. Dejected but determined, she went to the teacher who mediated between students with conflicts. The teacher approached me sheepishly, and asked what I could do.

"Ms. Pitts can let me open the window, and I'll go back. She can also tell the kid to go, and then she won't have this problem. If she wants, she can come out here, close the windows, and I'll go back in there and open them."

When presented with these options, Miss Pitts rejected them outright, and insisted the teacher force me back into the room. The teacher, having no actual authority in the matter, politely declined. Miss Pitts didn't speak to me for two months.

Everyone was jealous.
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