So Much For No Child Left Behind, Part 3

, , , , , , | Learning | September 14, 2020

I am the author of So Much For No Child Left Behind. If you’ve read that, you know my dad had some behavior issues. However, this story makes me laugh because it really sets the tone for my life in general.

At thirty, I begin teaching at the high school my dad graduated from. I did some student teaching here, so I’m not unfamiliar with it. It’s worth noting that in Virginia, county and city schools are often separate, and I went to the county schools and my dad graduated from the city. It’s also very important to note that my family is not originally from here so my accent is somewhat confusing and instantly recognizable in my area.

I have been in my classroom for one year at this point, and I am rather happy with it. I had to do a lot of work to get it clean and in shape. The teacher that occupied the class before me left a mess, and the teacher who had the room before him was here for thirty years. I don’t think he threw away anything, and neither did she. There were books that had been in the closet since the seventies. I threw them away because, well, frankly, they were icky. I did notice that across the spines it looked like someone had slashed the word, “B****.” I may add that this was a glass front closet and it was just left there.

This will be important later.

Teachers have to help monitor and proctor standardized testing. I am helping an older woman I do not recognize and am later told was a teacher here and only became an administrator in her last few years to help out. It turns out she retired and was asked to help out this semester as we need a few extra people due to heavy cold and flu incidents.

After the testing, she’s getting me to sign forms necessary and she asks me where my room is. It turns out that her old room is my room! I’m so excited. I ask her if she wants to see what I’ve done and she declines, saying if she has to look at those books with “B****” on them she may scream.

Here is where I make my mistake. I say, “Oh, no, I tossed those out. They were old anyway.”

She narrows her eyes and says, “You threw out my books?!”

I am in WTF mode now. She retired! But I ask about it. She gives me this withering look. She tells me that she had a student she hated. He was loud, rude, and he somehow knew answers even when not really paying attention. She told me he once passed a test and she was sure he cheated because he skipped class several times. When she confronted him, he told her he knew his geography. She gave him some sort of detention, and in revenge, he slashed that on her books and waited.

She tells me that she called the principal the next day because he was the only one there. The principal confronted the student and told him he would have detention for a month. The student got mad, stormed out, and screamed, “I quit!” Incidentally, this was May, and they graduated in June.

She glares at me and says, “I would look at those books every day and remember that not all students are smart, and not all students are dumb, but some smart students make very dumb decisions.”

As an experienced teacher, I know you seldom forget names. So, I ask who this stunning pupil was.

She looks at me and says, “[My Dad].”

My jaw nearly drops to my toes. I tell her, “That was my father. He died eight years ago.”

Her eyes widen like she’s caught me in a lie. “I knew you had that same snotty Norfolk accent! His kid turned out well enough to be a teacher?!”

So, to sum it up, I ended up in the classroom where my dad quit school and I threw away the evidence that the teacher kept because she loathed my dad. By the end of the week, all of the teachers in the building and some of his former classmates who worked there knew about it. Then, the students found out about it.

It became a running joke to ask me who else I was destroying evidence for. It also made me super popular with the alumni, because they all liked my dad and said he was totally justified. The staff that knew the teacher always wanted to thank him for making her miserable when they could not.

So, thanks, Dad!

Also, he did go back and finish high school.

Related:
So Much For No Child Left Behind, Part 2
So Much For No Child Left Behind

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