4th Period, Metropolitan High

4th period and I have my really bright kids, my honors class. I’m in Room 205, but, right at the beginning of the year, the very first form of the year put me down as Room 206. That’s Bob Spire’s room, a nice guy, special ed., went to Northwestern. I know where my classroom is, and he knows where his special ed. room is, so the room number mess-up doesn’t make much difference.

Or at least it doesn’t make much difference to me and Spire.

Some kids care. Like today. This new kid transfers into Dr. Publius’ 4th period honors class. So they sent him to Spire’s special ed. room. As the new kid takes-in Spire’s special ed. room, what he presumes to be a super-smart honors class, he’s thinking that this is going to be a really long four years. They’re like on phonics or some such.

Meanwhile, I’ve got some new special ed. kid working on like a Garcia-Lorca play or some such, “La Casa De Bernarda Alba” or like that in dual translation.

Between classes, I’ve got to pee. I pass Mr. Ford. His 4th period is like a daily meeting of The Future Felons Of America Alliance. So he tells me he’s never talking to his 4th period for the rest of the year. That’s his plan. He says that, if some parent calls and asks what he’s doing to their kid, some kid whose like Vice-President of the club, Ford says he’ll just reply, “I didn’t do anything. I didn’t say a word to your kid.” I figure Ford can pull it off. He’s probably the smartest guy here. He got near-perfect scores in his ACT, went to Penn., summer Fulbright program and like that.

So I go to pee. There’s this outer room to the men’s bathroom. There’s the table, a chair and this woman. There’s always this woman. I don’t know her name. I have no idea what she does. But she’s always there. Today she is skipping rope. Mostly she sleeps. But she’s there. Always.

On my way back to my room, my boss asks if I’ve completed “the formal articulation linkage.” I’m told that it’s a state requirement.
It’s lunch. I run into Dr. Bora. I like Tansu Bora. She’s a Turk, born in Istanbul, educated in Switzerland. Ph. D. in linguistics. She’s funny, cute and, for the moment, enraged.

Dr. Bora was just informed that, in an hour, she has to teach a class for which she has no qualifications, no training and no materials. But her students will be here. She’s not even sure of the title of the new class. “Junior Wank¬ing”, she calls it.

I tell her it will be fine. ‘Fine in the sense that you can do nothing about something that is not going to change no matter what you do. Think of it as a Newtonian theory of public education: A bad idea in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by another bad idea.’

Rev. Mesner, a teaching assistant and an ordained Southern Baptist minister, has lunch with me. He’s working on his teacher’s certificate at the state college. I don’t know how he does it. A new baby, this job, his church, night school. And now he’s just come from a disciplinary meeting.

Mesner, a normally composed almost serene fellow, has this semi-deranged look. He tells me how he was in the office with a kid who was sexually abusing another kid. A couple of hours ago, he heard muffled screams coming from the boy’s basement bathroom, so he busts this kid and writes him up. During the meeting, the boy, Akeem Jackson, claims he’s been falsely accused. “Mesner’s charge is bogus. They say that I was trying to get a blow-job off Charles. But that charge is a lie. So I should get off that. I was only trying to butt fuck him. I’m The Ass Bandit!” Akeem gets a ten day suspension, three days of it for cursing. The boss directs Mesner to make sure that Akeem finishes his homework assignments.

Mesner dubs the student “Akeem Whose-Your-Daddy Jackson”, a name I figure will stick.

Filed under: Prose