Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Ax
I've been excessed from Shitty High School. I found out via a letter in my box a few weeks before the end of the year. About half the staff was cut along with me (based on seniority or lack thereof) to make way for expanding mini-schools, but it's still kind of a kick in the nuts.

Believe it or not I'd grown sort of attached to the place. Yeah, it was a disorganized, ineffectual, frustrating mess of idiocy, bureaucratic red-tape, and gang-flags. But it was my disorganized, ineffectual, frustrating mess. Its chaos afforded an anonymity and freedom I was only just beginning to learn to negotiate and exploit.

And, despite everything that's happened and anything I might have written here, I love the kids.

Fittingly, my last day at Shitty High was a rough one. The preceding weeks had been cake. Classes were done, and I was a lame-duck, so any pretext of giving a fuck whatsoever was tossed out the window as soon as I handed in my final grades. I would come in late, do a minimal amount of what can only loosely be described as work, and then cut out early. At the most I'd have to proctor Regent's exams for three or four hours (there was no way anybody was conning me into grading those things, though) usually I'd just come in and move some books from one classroom to another, drink some crappy coffee, shoot the shit for a while and then head across the street to the Dominican restaurant (or, alternatively, down the road to the Irish bar) to drink ice-cold beer and watch the World Cup. I did end up staying until seven one evening when one dedicated, desperate young thug refused to give up on his Global History Exam. I was supposed to cut him off at 6:30, but he'd been busting his ass for so long I didn't have the heart to not let him finish.

The last day was different. We had to be there at 7:45 to give out report cards form 8:00 to 9:15. The fact that actual students would be in attendance tugged on some vague vestige of a sense of duty deep within me, and meant that I felt I needed to show up as well, so I was up at 6:15 and out the door a few minutes later. That's early no matter what. When you've been up until 4:00 smoking 40s and drinking blunts it's absolute Hell.

I made it, though, swallowed a couple of gulps of coffee and, for the last time at Shitty, set up perch in my classroom doorway. The kids slowly began to straggle in, and by about 8:30 I had a dozen or so students in my room (maybe half of whom were supposed to be there) sitting around on the desks, joking and laughing and clowning each other over their report cards. I gave them the bad news that unless they got out of ESL they'd be stuck with Ms. Kuntstein next year, shook a lot of hands, accepted a few hugs, wished everyone good luck, and realized I would probably never see any of these young people again.

I will miss them.

The adults, not so much. As soon as the distribution period was over my hangover attacked me with a vengeance. I t wasn't so much the nausea or the splitting headache, as it was an inability to form a coherent thought other than "water..." and an undeniable physical revulsion to sitting around chit-chatting with any of the crazy-ass teachers prattling on about the summer or next year or whatever.

So I left. No good-byes, no last, long, lonely walk down the halls. Nothing. I didn't even stay to pick up my check.

I don't know what I'll do next year. I can always come back to Shitty and substitute, hoping to become ensconced a la Ms. Wayne as a permanent do-nothing, as opposed to being sent somewhere else of the Region's bidding. I've been looking closer to home, and I'm trying to weasel my way into some ore progressive and productive places, but those kind of schools reek of pressure and scrutiny and having to spend way too much time doing what someone else tells me. Part of me wants to find somewhere even worse off than Shitty where I can apply what I've learned and once again attempt to surf atop the tsunami of shit.

I hear there's a job opening at the academy on Rikers.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com