The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

How I’m Managing, or What I Think About When I Think About Trump (pt.1)

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In the spring of 1995, I received a call from Dan, a teacher at a high school in Evansville, Indiana.  He said he wanted to interview me for an English and Speech Coach position.  I was game since I was two years out of undergrad without a job and was eager for a contract.  The offers were just starting to roll in since I had completed an English endorsement to supplement my teaching license, and I was willing to go wherever whenever.

I bisected the state of Indiana from northeast to southwest, about 700 miles round-trip, to meet with Dan and see what he had to offer.  The school was huge, with very modern facilities and a football stadium carved out of a hillside in back of the building.  I was impressed, too, with an administrator I met along the way who had perfect command of what I would come to call a “firm but kind” approach with students.  She knew names, had made connections with students, and was firm but kind with the number of them she interacted with when I talked to her while she was patrolling the cafeteria during lunch.  It was clear that students liked and respected her quite a bit.

Dan, however, was a different entity.  He showed me around the school, but he didn’t walk so much as he strutted.  The pager he had clipped to his belt lent him an air of authority.  At one point along the way, we came across a teacher walking towards us who was very pregnant.  She was wearing a pair of shorts, so I assumed she was a Physical Education teacher.  Dan called down the hall to her, “Hey, sexy legs!”  She replied with a wave and hello and turned into an office before we had any further contact.  Later, Dan spoke to me about some of the other teaching faculty around the building.  He soon got to talking about a trio of young female teachers from a few years prior who, he indicated, liked to flirt with him.  One sat on his desk one day after school and talked to him; a student had seen the interaction and made some vague negative comment to Dan.  Dan told me that he referred to the young and allegedly flirtatious teachers as “The Whore Corps.”

It turned out that I had gained Dan’s interest because of my theatre experience.  He headed the school’s maverick Speech Team, and there were forensic events I could coach that would suit the skill set I had developed as an undergrad.  He talked for quite a while about his Speech Team, and justifiably so.  They had won the state title that year (they would go on to win several more), and would soon become a national power.  Dan bragged that he had a cross-section of the student body represented on the team, and that it wasn’t uncommon for a Speech Team member to come to practice after school and then leave for football practice because the kid might be a varsity offensive lineman.  Dan also disclosed one way he recruited kids when he was establishing the team:  “I’d go to the basketball courts after school and take on kids in one-on-one.  I told them if I won, they were on the Speech Team.  And I usually won.  Because I know how to cheat.”

I didn’t get the job in Evansville, and Dan told me as much in the presence of another teacher he was interviewing.  I was never much bothered by the news, if not the approach to hearing it.  I had interviews rolling in throughout the spring and summer, and had a feeling that I just had to be patient and the right one would appear.  If nothing else, my trip to Evansville was practice for what was to come.  Turns out I was right, and the right job that I found took me in a far different direction geographically and professionally than working with and for Dan would have.

Dan’s sheer arrogance and unprofessional conduct have stuck with me these many years.  I wish I had spoken to his principal or superintendent about the things he said, if only for peace of mind.  All of Dan’s behaviors came in the course of an afternoon, and they rolled out of him like he always conducted himself in such a brazen manner.  I can’t imagine what someone who worked with him for a long period of time might list as his arrogant behaviors.  The word “arrogant” keeps coming up here, and that’s why Dan still comes to mind twenty-two years later.  “Arrogant” is a word I seldom associate with teachers.  Arrogance is not usually a personality trait of a person who works for a mediocre income at ground-level with children and teenagers, tirelessly endeavoring to help them improve their skills and station in life no matter where they are.  I may be biased when I make this claim, but teachers are some of the most humble people I know.  On the other hand, the most arrogant people I’ve known in education have either been college professors or school administrators.  I don’t know about the former, but Dan became the latter about ten years after I met him.  I wasn’t surprised to find that out when I googled his name.

continued tomorrow…


Written by seeker70

March 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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