Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Hunger Games

Many of times I see teachers get worked-up about free stuff, especially if it involves food. I don’t know what it is. It is not like we can’t feed ourselves. Nine times out of ten the free food that we covet isn’t even very good. I mean it is never to the point to where we’re underneath the bleachers, waiting patiently like dogs at a dinner table. But I know exactly why such a scenario resides in my imagination. There are plenty of stories around here that come across as one step away from that bleachers Thanksgiving moment.

For example, I know this one teacher who keeps one of those stainless steel travel mugs on her desk to make it look like she drinks coffee. The truth is that she fills it with snacks the kids carelessly leave around—a box of Mike and Ike candy with a few innards left, a half-bag of Corn Nuts, and whatnot. I know. We’re not exactly talking about one of the great moments of teaching.

Sadly, another example might be in the works. Many teachers were in a panic here yesterday. Were our grades due and the expensive, automated grade book software program freezing up again? No, the cause of the budding pandemonium was a mysterious e-mail that came from the teacher who also got the terrible job of coordinating the state standardized test for an extra two hundred dollars a year. It said, “One sandwich was provided for everyone Please make sure you take one.”

What did she mean? There were sandwiches? For Free? And we can have them? When? Is there some testing coming up?

Soon there were other school-wide e-mails asking everyone else for clarification about said promised sandwiches. Those were followed by worrisome messages about how the coordinator wasn’t responding to her e-mails. Was she hording the sandwiches for her consumption only? That doesn’t make sense because why would she spill the beans about them in the first place? What was going on?!

By lunchtime all the talk was about how we could be eating those sandwiches. Actually, many times they were referred to as, “those damn sandwiches,” as if they were despised for the role they had in this cruel taunting game. There was definitely a tension in the air.

I wonder if I’ll hear anything about the sandwiches today or any other related incidents that may have occurred late in the day and were just making their way across the teacher gossip this morning. There may have been an episode where a teacher battered down the mechanical room door with his cart because he thought he smelled tuna melts on the other side.

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