18 May 2009

A day in the life of an American Teacher...

Every day I teach, i put the days events in the mental rolodex, knowing full well most of the things that happen to me when i'm at school would not only be of no interest to the general public, it would be somewhat traumatic to have to relive some of these miserable experiences. Sometimes, something happens, a story so unique and/or entertaining, it bears repeating, and the story must live on...the names have obviously been either changed or removed to protect the innocent...

it's the last day of school and I'm heading in to teach the last class of the semester before the final, and there's an vibe of excitement and happiness in the air. Students have a hard time imagining this, but teachers look forward to the summer vacation as much as, if not even more than, students. this is for a couple of reasons, but the largest one, for me, is that i get paid "straight cash, baby" during the break, as if i was going to work everyday, but instead i get to sit at the spot, watch the tube, play video games and relax. it's a pretty good gig, if you can get it....anyway, the bell rings and it's time for students to come into the class. the first student to enter the class could be known to be a bit of a, for lack of a better word, jackass. just a couple of days earlier, he had been suspended from school for being caught playing the classic high school game, "Hey, mister." For those of you that don't know this high school game, i will explain. you stand in front of the store (liquor or grocery), wait for a person that looks like he won't rat you to the police if they object and ask the following.

"Hey, mister? Can you buy us some alcohol?"

What the game lacks in subtlety it more than makes up for in effectiveness. believe me, there are far more people out there than you think that are willing to pick the ever-so-popular in the joint "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor" charge. However, as you can imagine, the game does have some modicum of a risk involved, and sometimes, the game has negative implications (why this student was suspended from school for this as opposed to arrested, booked and arraigned is beyond me, but i digress), and our hero was caught and suspended. the day of his return was the last day of classes, and apparently he came back because he's not the sharpest tool in the shed. So as he enters the room, an overwhelming smell envelops the room, and it's a smell i recognize immediately as marijuana. So, i make a relatively reasonable comment to the student, as we're the only people in the room.

"Hey, it smells like Indonesia in here."
"What are you talking about?" he asks.
"I need you to open your bag."
"What if i say no? I do have 4th amendment rights."
"You don't. You're a student. You're at a private school. You can open the bag, or i'll call the principal, who will call the police, and the drug dog, and you'll be taken out in handcuffs."

he hands me his backpack, and i open it. the moment it opens, the ENTIRE classroom is draped in the smell of what was labeled "Blue Lighting." I take it out of the bag and place it in the bottom drawer. i then proceed to turn off the air conditioner and open the windows in the room, to air the room out. the rest of the class shows up while all of this is going on, and one kid says, relatively naively, that the room smells like someone killed a skunk. the class spends the next hour and ga half studying for the final which will happen during the next class. after class, i make the student wait after class (which is after school, as well) and i make him follow me to the restroom, where he then watched me dump his "Blue Lighting" in the toilet, and flush it away.

On the way back to the class, I find myself dipping in unsafe waters. i have to ask a couple of questions. I needed to know why he felt the need to bring what was labeled an ounce of "Blue Lighting" to class. he explained to me his need to pick it up and the need to get it during lunch, and he had to leave campus (our campus is closed) during lunch (violation of rule), drive his vehicle to another high school (another rules violation), purchase illegal drugs (violation of rules and laws) and then bring them on campus, not to sell, but to show his friends. i then asked why he felt the need to write the type and amount on the bag. his answer: he wanted to remember the kind, and he wanted to make sure he remembered how much he was going to sell. i then asked him the final question, of why he felt the need to expose his cottage industry to me, to which he coolly responded, "i graduate in like 5 days, who are you gonna tell? and you already flushed the evidence. Touche, salesman...this kid ended up being expelled from school (yes expelled just days before graduation). seems he decided he was a fan of sex, and he and his girlfriend decided to "bust a fat juan" in the car. on the campus...i will preface this. the parking lot at the school i worked for had a really really large parking lot, and there were virtually 1000 spaces to have sex in where nobody could see you. however, outside the window of a portable classroom, directly in front of the window, is one of the places where it's pretty hard (no pun intended) to be unseen. the student was not caught by the more than plentiful security guards on the campus, but by one of the students taking a final. i can only imagine the scenario...

"excuse me, mr. longfellow, i think you should look out the window."
"I'm pretty sure there's someone playing [Osama Bin Laden, Pussy Terrorist] in the car outside the classroom"

...don't worry America, he's probably still in some mid-tier college, skirting the law...

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