I’ve decided to try my hand at National Novel Writing Month again. Only, this time I’m planning ahead of time what I’m going to write. I’m going to have some characters in mind, and a plot. The Dansky says you need to have an outline to do this sort of thing, so I’m going to make an outline. We’ll see where that gets me.
The plan is to write fifteen chapters. Each chapter should be about 3,300 words long, which means that each chapter should take about two days to write. This is a very frantic pace for me, and it also requires me to write four to five pages a day, which I’m not used to, of late. I guess I’ll have to manage, though. At least I have a little bit of extra time in my schedule, thanks to eleven detention periods a week.
The colleague of mine who tried to steal my ninth grade class from me has been making a royal pain of himself to another student. The student has apparently been trying to avoid dealing with this guy for two years, because he views the teacher as biased, stubborn and filled with ill-will towards him, personally. The kid has made a serious effort to turn his life around, and the adult is holding a grudge. He has made the kid miserable for several weeks now, forcing the student to sit next to him at the lunch table, and generally refusing to acknowledge the boy’s autonomy in any way, or his rights. It came to a head last Friday, when the kid was moved from one part of the arts program to another. The boy’s new teacher invited him to sit with her at lunch and talk about expectations, since he missed all that discussion at the start of term. The colleague flipped out, in the middle of the dining hall, and barely managed to keep himself in check long enough to ask the arts teacher to step into the private place in the dining room. The dining hall head had to intervene, and formally change the kid’s table assignment, to keep this teacher from getting in the kid’s face totally, or the arts teacher’s face.
The first teacher demanded an apology from the student for the student behaving so atrociously. The student, with some prodding, finally agreed, and gave the requisite apology quite meekly, really, given how awfully he had been treated by this teacher.
The teacher refused the apology.
Today, the dining hall head came to me in the library, and asked me to intervene with this teacher, and tell him to let go of the whole panjandrum. I explained my history with the same teacher, that the teacher tried to get me to give up classes so that he could teach, but wasn’t really ok with me saying, “no, I don’t want to cover the detention room thirty periods and only have five class periods in any given week.”
The dining hall head told me that (in his opinion), the assistant head and head are fed up with this behavior from a teacher; and that this was the first time in his eightteen years of teaching that he’d ever seen a colleague be so grossly unprofessional — that this teacher was becoming a gross liability instead of an asset.
This worries me. Currently, this colleague teaches a language I’m qualified to teach (barely) in both a basic and advanced section. He teaches a literature class, and he covers a special program at school which I’m also qualified to do. If he leaves, I will likely be asked to do them — the head’s wife said as much to me, the last night of faculty orientation before the school year started.
On the one hand, I see this colleague of mine as a menace to the good order and gentle operation of my life. He will continue to try to steal my classes on a regular basis, and he doesn’t really like most of his students. Increasingly he behaves in a way that is irrational and detrimental to the students and to his colleagues. On the other hand, if he is fired or dismissed or removed from the school, I am his likely successor. I will be asked to “fill in” and once I am filling in, I will be permanently confined to that role, in all likelihood. And that might be dangerous. Yikes.
It would be better for the school if he left. It would be better for me if he stayed. And it’s largely out of my hands.
It’s been a crazy evening. My friend Roberta called to say she was having car troubles and could I pick her up in Framingham. No, alas, I couldn’t — because I’m on duty tonight. I suggested , but I’d spaced on her dinner plans and her project plans for tonight. So that didn’t work out. Meanwhile, the meeting we were supposed to have tonight after supper fell apart around 5:30, when one of my colleagues got called on to take a kid injured in football practice to the hospital. The football team is just having a totally rough time of it, I’m afraid.
So I had the evening to myself, but then I got a call from a friend of mine who is a comic book artist, who said they were passing through and could they drop by? Sure! Foolish me, they called back and said they’re stuck in traffic, and now they haven’t got the time to stop in. Sigh. It’s been like that all night, and perhaps all day.
Apparently it’s going around.