Monday, November 29, 2010

Movie Monday – The Summer School Incident

Welcome back for the next installment of Movie Monday! Here is yet another reason why I failed at teaching (or maybe it failed me, I’ll let you decide).

When I graduated from college, I found a job right away. And to top it off, I was also offered a position to teach 11th grade English at summer school. WIN!

Which quickly became Loose.

Again, the demographic for this position was the same as my junior high school teacher position: middle to upper middle class with a HUGE sense of entitlement.

Here are a few things you should know before watching the movie:
- I made all the students sign my procedures so they knew what to expect.
- I was twenty-one and many of these students were eighteen.
- Little Johnny’s father was a lawyer.
- Because the original version was too risky for YouTube, he did call me a fcuking bitch and and he did say he wanted to kill me (not hurt me that is in the movie).

Seriously?! I was twenty-one right out of college! How was I supposed to know what to do?! I am pretty sure there were procedures that were ignored.

Epilogue Part 1:
About three or four years after The Summer School Incident I saw that administrator at a wedding. After indulging in who knows how many several adult beverages, I approached him and asked him why he let someone who threatened to kill me stay at school. He was a little fidgety and his memory didn’t quite retain this specific incident. Luckily, I remembered it quite clearly and after much “gentle prodding” (or loudly recalling the details with much valor and conviction), it seemed to rumble up some recollection. Because the next thing I knew, he said he didn’t want to talk about this here or ever again. Then he excused himself, and I haven’t seen him since.

Epilogue Part 2:
About five years after that, Little Johnny was in the local paper for being seriously injured in a fight that involved copious amounts of alcohol and a girlfriend and some other guy. I am not sure of the details of the altercation, but I do remember he was badly hurt. I share this part of the story because it is another example of his personality. For a long, long time, I felt like I did something wrong in this story. Why else would they not protect me and get him out of there? (I am pretty sure it had something to do with his father being a lawyer and the school’s numbers for graduation). But he was volatile and scary and dangerous.

And I thank God that I didn’t end up dead.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you had to go through that. I've had similar events happen to me...but I'm just mean. I remember I had a student when I was student teaching who ended up killing his neighbor...stabbed her over 100 times. Interacting with the public is scary.

I think you're awesome!

New York Mama said...

WOW!GREAT MOVIE! What an awful experience for your first job as a teacher or any time!!! Not sure about then, but I know for sure that today if that happened in a NYC school that kid would be expelled or put on some type of probation with a lot of counseling & meetings etc! It would be addressed! No one is allowed to threaten anyone, especially an adult in charge!!!! There are definite procedures put in place.
Sounds like the administrator just wanted to get that kid out of his school the easiest way he knew and did not have his employees back (yours as teacher). What a lame excuse to say you would never be left alone in the school!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!
These type of threats by some punk can and does happen at all socio economic levels. It would not matter what his parents did for a living, but how they treated their child in the home.Usually a bully is bullied at home or witnesses bullying in the home. The kid was obviously disturbed (by his threats to you & later newspaper accounts.)He threatened your life, so if there was any legal thing involved, you'd be the victim, not the other way around.
The administrator is really inept and quite the failure at helping students & families face consequences of out of control children. He also is not any kind of partner with his teachers. Who knows, if the administrator would've done his job that kid and family could've been saved by realizing what a SERIOUS ISSUE their kid had???. Instead the teen was allowed to continue that bad behavior with no checks or balances in place. Look what happened 5 yrs later!
You are very lucky that nothing else happened to you!!! Is that guy still an administrator? If he is, he's turning his back on lots of troubled kids & ignoring teacher's concerns.He's basically shutting down "the village". That is a travesty!
You are an amazing fighter and spirited being!!!

Fiorella said...

I love your sense of timing, because although I know this is a true story that you are sharing for a purpose, it really is kind of funny how you wrote it - I love how the administrator keeps repeating the standard responses over and again. Funny movie - but not a funny story. I'm glad you're all right. I'm a wussie for this kind of thing and I would've hidden under my bed and never gone back to work.

Unknown said...

Wow...I think my favorite part is how he says "what would you like us to do?" over and over. Like it's your problem to solve.

purplume said...

I'm sorry you had to go through this.
I interviewed for a job in a mental hospital once and they said how would I feel if I got beaten up? Helloo! Not good. I didn't take the job.

Erin Janda Rawlings said...

Anonymous - how scary!! And thanks for the compliment!

New York Mama, I love how you said how the admin "shut down the village." He TOTALLY did! I can't believe I blamed myself for so long.

Erin Janda Rawlings said...

Fiorella, that was the desired effect - funny movie, not a funny story. How crazy the timinig of this, with that student who took his class hostage.

Moonspun, for a long time I thought it was my problem. How stupid of me!

Purplum, that's nuts! Glad you didn't take the job? I wonder who would?!

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. The delivery in this way but the fact that it really is so so so awful. For everyone, actually. No one wins here. So sorry you had to go through this. There's enough fear in life without having this kind of crazy, palpable scary stuff going on.

JoAnna said...

It doesn't have to be a demographic of white upper to middle classs that feels that entitlement. We see many parents come in screaming and yelling and their kids are on free lunch and get help every damn place but they try to tell us what to do. It's America. Everyone has too many rights. And the teachers have none.

Erin Janda Rawlings said...

Sparkling, if I ever think that maybe it was me or the school I was working in, I'll think of your comment. It so sad that teachers and their contributions to society are disregarded.

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