Monday, August 24, 2009

Dine and Dash

The good old Back to School Breakfast was Friday for the staff. It’s like our last meal before the, uh, execution of the 09-10 school year that started today. Usually, the spread is nothing to talk about. It typically looks like someone pilfered the condiments when they went out to eat this summer and made a number of passes at the free samples at grocery stores only to pocket them for today.

Miniscule, old, and random.

Actually, the whole thing endears Pècan to me a bit. I can imagine him at IHOP, looking over his shoulder as he clears all those assorted jellies from the table into his pocket. A late night trip to the alley behind the day-old bread shop gets some leftover leftovers. The idea that there is a Hobo Teacher buried inside our principal is one I find hopeful.

All of the sudden the crunchy bagels were moist in my mouth. The lemon preserve packets were ambrosia. And all because it was a meal that made me realize that its real nourishment was the fact that Pècan toiled to give us his very best. Right then and there I decided that I was going to display the same yeoman effort Pècan had, so at the very least I can leave the same impression on my students. Maybe they won’t learn iambic pentameter or wrap their heads around parallelism, but damn it, they will be inspired by my tireless efforts to meet their educational needs. They will be moved by my sacrifice as I was by Pècan’s.

But then, while my mouth was full, Pècan opened his. He asked us if we were enjoying ourselves. Of course none of us said we weren’t. Who says that to their boss? Speaking-up in education is professional suicide. Just ask the teacher who said something about the helipad a couple of years ago. Oh wait. That’s right. You can’t—because she is gone.

When Pècan received no negative reviews of this shindig, he went on to remind us that these are tough economic times (clearly a foreign concept to teachers), that the school was looking for ways to tighten its belts and one such method was to ask for any donations to fund the breakfast that we were currently eating. I actually caught a glimpse of one teacher producing crushed pineapple from her mouth from a whole piece she had just consumed. This was the choreography to what I was thinking, “If I knew this was the case then I wouldn’t have eaten anything.”

Honestly, who does such a thing? How can you feed a group and then ask them to pony up for it? I’m surprised that Pècan didn’t tell us that he left his wallet in his car only to abandon us with the bill to the sound of his screeching tires as he fled from the parking lot.

I was certainly right about one thing. Pècan has set the tone for the year: “Screw you guys.”

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