The day began with a fellow educator informed of my birthday via Facebook yelling "Happy birthday" to me in the hall. This unleashed all the boys in school to get in their "birthday licks," pummeling me in the stomach, the legs, the back, the arms 41 times each. What else is new? Today is also Stephen Colbert's birthday, and Stevie Wonder's, and Harvey Keitel's. Three I'm proud to share a birthday with!
I'm standing outside my door during the stressful last period class change when I hear beefin' up the hall. I see 6th-grade Candice, a loud-mouth filthy piece of work running down some 8th grader's hair, shoes, mother, coat, purse, belt, and lip gloss. The 8th grader talks smack right back, and then like a storm cloud twisting into a tornado I see the slow forming of the crowd into two packs of slavering bloodthirsty face-bashers.
In front of me is Ms. C, a diminutive Filipina science teacher. I just have time to say to her "get out the way! Here we go!" when Candice turns her back and storms toward my door and I see the 8th grader raise her hand up like John Brown in a cataclysmic painting. The 8th grader charges straight at Candice and I get between them but there is already hair-pulling and kicking and punching and I am in the middle. Because I know Candice has a big crew I get the 8th grader spun around to my doorway, I get my hands around her wrists and I pry them out of Candice's weave (most of which rips out like a bloodless scalp) and I push her back into my room. Then I bar entry to the seething mob of Candice's crew. The only one punched in the brawl? Me. I was so intent on protecting the girl from a beat-down that I pushed the school cop away from my door when she tried to push in past me.
Then I went to the job fair for an hour and saw many fine teachers from shitty schools trying to lock down a position at a quality well-run institution. Unfortunately there aren't many of those in the City.