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Sticking It To The Sleazeball

, , , , , | Learning | March 31, 2022

I am in a grant-funded part-time position at the high school where I graduated. My job is to manage In-School Suspension for students who need a little extra time away from class but not away from school itself. I do things like make sure they do their work and address their issues. Sometimes, this just means talking to them, or, once their classwork is complete, they fill out forms and write about their options to do better next time.

Because this is a grant-funded position, I am frequently grilled by higher-ups. This particular day, a higher-up comes from the central office to interrogate me on my methods. This sleazeball once made me cry as a student and called me “worthless” because someone dropped the ball on getting me a book for an online course I was taking; online courses were not common for our rural school in the early 2000s) Without the book, I wasn’t able to complete the coursework and was failing. Sleazeball drove to my school from his central office, brought me out of class, and upbraided me in the hallway, causing me to have a meltdown that lasted for hours. I told Sleazeball through tears that I didn’t have the book, but he somehow didn’t see that as an excuse. My teachers, knowing I was a straight-A student, were not happy. They tried to help me and offered tutoring. Since I had a job, I bought the book that night myself instead of waiting for it. The school finally received my book not long after, so I ended up with two. Once I had the book, I had perfect grades and caught up quickly, doing half a semester’s work in a week. My grades were updated and no one said anything further, but I never forgot this sleazeball making a sixteen-year-old girl cry.

Sleazeball shows up in my In-School room, and I have a difficult student — the kind who doesn’t believe in authority and will not hold back when telling you about it. He’s smart, has a tough home life, and doesn’t fall for cheap adult reasoning behind rules.

Sleazeball asks [Student] what he is doing, and what he did to land himself in my isolated classroom. [Student] gives Sleazeball the runaround for a few minutes, telling him every injustice he has seen during his infamous high school career. I watch, contentedly, as Sleazeball tries and fails, time after time, to gain the upper hand. [Student] simmers down, and Sleazeball asks to see me in another office.

Sleazeball: “Did you see how I had to keep out-maneuvering that kid? He was arguing with me, but I couldn’t let him get the upper hand. Had to show him I was the authority. That’s a tough thing for young female teachers like you to learn.”

Me: *Smiling* “Oh, yes. He can be difficult. I’ve been working with him today so he sees we have rules he shouldn’t break because we have reasons.”

Sleazeball: “He reminds me of another student here. When you were in school. Really smart, but lazy. Always breaking rules and full of reasons.”

I continue to smile. I know exactly who he is talking about, but don’t dare to say it. 

Sleazeball: “He had long, dark hair. Always kept it in front of his face. Kept his head down a lot. Boy, he was difficult. What was his name?”

Me: *Trembling* “You mean [Student]? [Student’s Full Name]?”

Sleazeball: “Yeah! Oh, gosh, he would do the same thing. Acts just the same way. Smart, but just so lazy. I mean, really sharp.”

Me: “[Student] is my husband.”

Sleazeball turned bright red and stumbled over his words before making an ungracious exit. Something about, “Well, you know how to handle it,” and, “Good luck.” 

I’ve been in a full-time, permanent position in a regular English classroom at my school for seven years now, and I haven’t seen Sleazeball since.

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