5/31/2009

I Was Called to the Principal's Office #1



It is no secret that I am a teacher…..I have kept my mouth closed all these years about what really goes on in your child’s school. But enough is enough.

After an increasingly heated email exchange with a co-worker, (not a supervisor, a file collector) who repeatedly kept asking me for “x” report ( for a subject/class I did not teach), and I politely but firmly reminded her that I was , in fact , teaching “y”, had always taught “y”, that someone else taught “x”…..the door to my classroom was kicked open with a loud bang!, and the principal’s “goon” (an xtra large jr principal, formerly a coach, used as “the enforcer”) stomped in to my classroom and said to me, ”Upstairs in the principal’s office. NOW!”  (What about the students, you ask? Well, they were just left to sit there, unsupervised.)

So together we walked down the halls and up the stairs and down some more halls, and into the principal’s office. We walked together, not speaking. I stood in the doorway to the principal’s office. The principal was sitting behind her desk; she glared at me, and motioned for me to come in. I stepped in, as did the goon, and stood in front of her desk. Like the naughty little child that I was not. (It goes without saying that I am not a rule breaker sort of employee: I follow all the rules, do all my paperwork, turn everything in on time, and am unfailingly polite, regardless of how I feel. That's just how my momma raised me.) I wasn't entirely sure what this was all about, bc the previous email interchange with the coworker, during which I had been unceasingly polite, was now only a distant memory, along with everyone else I had spoken to via email that day, about various reports and tasks, and was but a small blip on my mental radar screen. 

“Why are you refusing to give Ms.C the “x” report?” the principal asked me.

I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. ”Yes, I know, she seems very upset, but I have been trying to explain to her that---“

The principal shook her head dismissively, willing me to speak faster. She was impatient for this “problem” to be resolved or at least, go away.

At this point I was babbling nervously. “….when she asked me for the “z” report last week, I gave it to her, but today she asked me for the “x” report, and I don’t teach “x”, and I have told her this, and I am just not sure what to do, I did turn my own report in on time, she doesn't seem to get that what she is asking for is something that someone else has, I have tried explaining this to her, but I just don’t know what to do, she doesn't seem to be listening, I’m here to help but……blah,blah,blah…..”

“THAT IS F-NG BULLSHIT!” the principal screamed at me, and stood up, looming over me as she yelled it, and slammed her fist down on her desk, all at the same time.

This got everyone’s attention; even the goon, who had appeared to be dozing while standing next to the principal’s desk, for even he startled, opened his eyes, and blinked.

I started backing slowly out of the office, all the while making what I refer to as my “calming face” (eyes wide open, fake calm half-smile, pitching my voice higher and smoother- I used this manner when speaking to rabid dogs, crazy people, unhinged criminals,  and distressed children), and continuing to babble, ”Hmmm, well, I’ll do my best, gotta go now, this is all just a big mistake I think, I’ll talk to Ms C again and see what we can do….blah, blah, blah….” And left. I still wasn't sure if: a)the principal knew what I was, in fact, teaching, b)if the principal knew whether I had, in fact, turned in my “z” report the few days prior, or, c)that Ms. C was mistaken, whatever she was claiming. It was clear to me that no one was interested in getting to the facts, problem-solving, or even listening to what I had to say."And don't talking to your teacher friends about this!" the principal hollered at me as I took off down the hall, speed-walking back to my class.

A few days after that incident, spurred by I-don’t-know-what other “problems” caused by various members of my work team, the principal called a meeting of our entire department, again in her office, this time after school. Once again, she sent the goon to round us up. (Bc, you know, its not like we are professional employees or anything, and would attend a meeting simply by being asked.) We stood, lined up in  a low row around the interior of her office, each of us looking at the other, trying to figure out what was going on. No one knew. The principal started in on a long, rambling speech about “cooperation” and after a few minutes, during which people started to wonder what this had to do with anything, the principal concluded with a rousing,” I mean, come on…..department S!” After this, we all filed out. Several people muttered, “now what was that all about?” No one ever found out.


Three months later, every single member of our department left. Took jobs at other schools. Word had gotten around about how I’d been screamed at and physically threatened – for nothing. 

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