It was the last day of school, a work day for teachers. That usually entails that our classrooms are packed up for the summer and we have returned all borrowed materials to the book room or the library, cleared all debts with the front office, and turned in our lesson plan books and student grades to the principal or her designee.
Teachers usually start preparing for this big day a month or so in advance; after all, it is a tremendous amount of work to get done in one 8-hour day.
Most principals I worked for did not keep the teachers past noon, though the work day is a paid contract day. It makes up marginally for all the hours and weekends teachers spend throughout the school year doing work on their own time.
By the time I had cleared my room and locked it for the last time, it was close to eleven. I started my “stations of the cross,” going from one to another getting the mandatory initials on my checkout list – the librarian, my department chair, the front desk, etc. I was down to the lady in charge of student grades, and the final stop – shaking hands with the principal – when the grade woman closed her office and went to lunch.
She went to lunch.
Some of the folks in line gave up and went to lunch too, but I stayed. Her usual lunch “hour” was only thirty minutes, so I was determined to be there when she returned. I moved up several places and the handful of us tried to make ourselves comfortable.
She and her pals came back seventy minutes later, laughing gaily, while the few of us diehards were fighting growling tummies and sugar lows.
The group she was with was a handful of young teachers who considered themselves the “cool” teachers. The type who if one does not recognize their coolness, they will announce it straight out. Everyone else is laughable and does not deserve to breathe their air.
The few of us stood from where we had leaned, sat, or drooped. At last, the grade lady was back. But then she did the unforgiveable – she let her “cool” friends go to the head of the line. She was too stupid to know they let her in their clique so she would grant them favors. She was no cooler than the rest of us; she was just a chump.
I erupted. I cussed. (I will not write the word here, but believe me, it was NOT ladylike.) I called them spoiled brats and entitled snobs, and showed them where the end of the line “blank” was.
The cool teachers looked at me from the end of their cool noses. Who was I to tell them what to do? I charged at them and they backed off in their cool high heels and expensive sneakers. Another teacher in line tried to intervene. She danced between us and made her Rodney King speech of “Can we not get along?”
I ranted about having to wait more than one hour while the grade lady went to lunch with these “blankety blanks,” and now they were cutting into the front of the line? I. Did. Not. Think. So!
I charged at them again.
Our principal peeked out from her office and smiled at me. We had been friends for a very long time, so she knew about my psycho side. She did not intervene; she just watched.
The cool teachers scampered off, saying things under their breath about old dinosaurs and crazy old hags, but I did not care. The grade lady slunk into her office and was very polite when it was my turn to meet with her. She signed my form.
The principal and I shook hands after I gave her my completed checklist. She asked if I was okay.
“I’m cool.” I said and we both smiled.