Friday, October 18, 2019

Mr. Stein and the Superintendent

Mr. Stein was a very methodical and organized teacher. He had a system. Each class had several monitors who knew exactly what to do. His papers were all in the right place. You'd never see Mr. Stein frantically writing a lesson plan. He had them all ready, printed out, and sorted by date. The student monitors knew where they were, and they knew which ones to use for which classes.

Mr. Stein had the grading thing down pretty well too. He didn't need to look at papers. He had a great sense of who could and could not handle grading the papers. Of course he never let students grade their own classes. That would've been unfair. His classes were models of cooperation. No one ever called out, no one threw papers, and no one challenged him. He had a perfect system.

One day, the superintendent came to inspect the school. She walked around all day with the principal. They observed classes of every subject and level. She was not that happy in general, but when she saw Mr. Stein's class, she was delighted. She didn't usually tell teachers what she thought, but after the bell rang, she had to let him know that she thoroughly enjoyed his class. Unfortunately, toward the end of their conversation, he looked her directly in the eye and instantly turned to stone, right there in his polo shirt, his khakis, and his Skechers, all of which remained made of cotton.

Next period, the monitors came in and handed out the papers. There was a test that day, so the student monitors were very vigilant. One of them saw a student making some furtive movements, and decided to move him to a seat from which he absolutely could not copy.  There were no further incidents, and the entire period went on normally.

The next period, the student monitors managed to not only correct all the papers, but also to record all the grades on Skedula. Mr. Stein had given them his password. He was a fine judge of character and trusted them absolutely. The following day the monitors reviewed the entire test and took special care to go over items that many students had missed.

The student monitors were excited that Mr. Stein had trusted them with so much responsibility. They felt confident that he trusted them absolutely. In fact, he didn't even need to give them tips or suggestions anymore. Everything was running pretty well.

The following week, the assistant principal came in to observe Mr. Stein's class. She was really impressed. The students were interacting well, and everything seemed to happen of their own volition. They helped each other and cooperated well. She rated Mr. Stein highly effective.

A problem arose when a parent called to ask why her son had received 97 instead of 98. Though the secretary placed the letter in his mailbox, he never bothered to call back. This was unacceptable, thought the principal, who decided to call him in for a disciplinary meeting. A meeting was scheduled 48 hours later. Though the chapter leader showed up to represent him, Mr. Stein never showed.

The principal placed a letter in his file, but Mr. Stein never signed it. As the year went by, though, no further problems seemed to come up. The students did well, and by the end of the year had gotten excellent grades on the Regents exams.

The principal decided he'd been too tough on poor Mr. Stein, and placed a complimentary letter in his file, thanking him for all the good work he'd done that year. He was pretty disappointed when that ungrateful bastard decided not to sign and return it, but really, how could you question that sort of person? He was a weirdo alright, but he had a genius for making the students succeed.

When Mr. Stein didn't show up for graduation, the principal decided just to leave him alone. Sure it would've been nice for him to show up, but hey, the Stein guy wore the same clothes every day and managed to control his classes without lifting a finger. And he always stood right by the door to greet the students. Who was he to question Mr. Stein's methods? If they worked, they worked.
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