Wednesday, September 10, 2008
why am I not surprised?
I can so recall being filled with trepidation after every summer ended and I had to return to work. The nightmare would begin every September because principals who should be helpful and supportive were always "the enemy." They returned after their summer with newly learned techniques for "going after" teachers. And when they could find no good reasons, they manufactured charges and trumped up cases. I am not surprised Hannah Upp went AWOL. I can only imagine what awaited her when she returned to her school. I saw teachers who had nervous breakdowns leaving school on stretchers. I always expected to arrive at the TRS in an ambulance. The whole system is a mess. It's one big fight all day. A teacher fights with her students to try to motivate them to want to learn and irate parents visit and threaten teachers. I once had a posse waiting outside a school to beat me up with coat hangers. At least I thought it was to beat me up. Coat hangers were a new weapon. And students loved to spit on the bannister so when the teacher (who was mandated to walk at the end of the line) followed the class down the stairs she caught a handful of fresh saliva. We wrote on the chalkboard facing sideways so when wads of green gum were thrown at the back of our heads we didn't need to get a fresh haircut at 3:00. And on graduation day, we never partied in the outdoor yard... not after an 11 year old sniper hit three teachers with BBs. The most important element became bulletin boards. The teachers who were artistic and creative were adored because their bulletin boards looked like a super sweet 16 party. I had zip interest in being a classroom interior decorator, so when "store bought" materials were no longer allowed, I was ripe meat. And I always handled a class in a strong firm voice, so when yelling became corporal punishment... I almost was sent to the electric chair... er, "rubber room." Oh, how I longed for the days when a tack would be placed on my chair. Hannah darling, if you are reading this... just quit. It's not worth your mental health.
These photos were taken in 1971 during a rehearsal of our class play: "Farmer Gray."