Or, Teaching, the Vic way.
Or, Yesterday, Period One, Freshman English*.
*Curriculum addressed: Government bureaucracy, multi-cultural awareness, physical education, natural science, law-enforcement procedures, chemistry, biology, sex education, foreign relations, mental illness, spirituality.
*Curriculum not addressed: English
8 am: Bell rings. Take roll. Explain to roomful of fourteen year olds, again, that a research paper requires finding actual information. Imaginary facts are frowned upon. Yes, really. Student in back row raises hand- how are we going to use this in the real world?
8:05: Morning headache begins. Door opens. Principal, dressed in suit (bad sign) saunters in, accompanied by district superintendent, also in suit. Both smile, copy down everything written on board for future scrutiny. Identical expectant faces. Impress us, their eyebrows command.
8:10: Open mouth to impress visitors with superior wisdom and teaching technique. Door opens again. Special education lackey enters. Surprise!! IEP meeting! Mandatory attendance, come right away! Forgot to tell you!
8:11: Leave official guests and sea of vapid teens with lackey to fend for themselves. Attend IEP meeting. Mother speaks no English. Use wild hand gestures and loud, loud voice to compensate. Probably this is effective.
8:22: Return to classroom just as slightly sweaty officials are escaping. Open mouth. Say Okay everyone, let’s get…Door opens again.
Dean of students, police officer, and women with leash (attached to large dog) enter room.
Everybody clear the room! Take nothing with you! No talking!
8:23 Class led silently from the room. Students take turns alternately attempting to climb tree outside classroom and stomp to death world’s largest black widow spider. Meanwhile, inside, dog sniffs all backpacks for Oxycontin. Jim Beam. Plastic explosives. Meatball sandwiches.
Remember ibuprofen in purse. Hope police pat down is somewhere more private.
8:33 Dog fails to find contraband, leaves room with tail between legs. Students file in, one with spider attached to shoe.
8:35 Students return to seats. Door left ajar due to doggy smell in room. Say Let’s try this again. Open your books to page…
Autistic boy in first row raises hand- “Check this out!”
Opens book to inside back cover. Displays large, elaborate pen drawing of penis, with heavily-veined scrotum. Further inspection reveals penis to be of John Holmesian dimensions.
Students in room silent for first time. Calm before the storm. All eyes on teacher.
8:37: Sigh. Say Here, take this permanent marker and scribble it out. Do not look closely at marker grabbed hastily from desk drawer.
8:38: Student scribbles penis dutifully with marker. Displays effect proudly for the room.
Penis and scrotum now more distinctly defined than ever, and bright red. Appears turgid and hot, and somehow springy.
8:39: Get giggles. Attempt to stifle giggles and confiscate book simultaneously. Struggle to regain dignity. Class erupts in excited babble.
8:42: Suddenly, many well-dressed individuals walk slowly by open door. Student next to door cries Hey, it’s Queen Elizabeth!!
Group of adults stops to look in room and then continue. It is not Queen Elizabeth. (One of them is, however, the Mayor of London. England. Come to see the marching band, as you will later learn. Frightening coincidence.)
8:48: Give up. Instruct students to gather things and pack up. Sit at desk with head cradled in palms of hands.
Hear student approach desk. Look up. Student shyly extends folded paper. Says, I wanted to show you this.
Fear it is another penis drawing. Unfold paper.
These are demons that talk to me. I drew their pictures. Do you want to know their names?
8:54- Bell rings.
One period down, five more to go.
Note: I attempted to take a picture of the turgid penis for your viewing pleasure, but when I looked later, the page had been ripped out of the book.