It’s often awkward in the teacher’s lounge. People in there sometimes talk disparagingly about colleagues you like. What do you say? Or the reverse: they LOVE colleagues who you think are less than stellar. But never in the history of school has a day been so awkward throughout.
First there was the staff meeting. Our building’s entire Middle and High school staff gathered at 7am sharp to hear from The Man, the Top Dog, the Big Kahuna, the district Superintendent. (I’m not kidding when I say the man is big. His fingers look like sausage links.) Among the business at hand was the announcement that our district has hired the new Middle and Elementary School principals. At this news, one particularly nosy, loud, and obviously ballsy woman says, “I have two questions for you. Number one: Are we replacing Mr. Jones?”
Mr. Jones is the high school Assistant Principal. (Yes, you heard right. There’s an administrative mass exodus from our district. Hmmm….)
Mr. Super, despite looking a little bit annoyed at the question as it has been asked and answered repeatedly over the last several weeks, replied calmly.
“Hmmm. ” Replies the staff member. “Okay. Number two. We all know that you were one of two final candidates for the Superintendent’s Job at another district. Why did you pull your application?” It’s true. Common knowledge in the Valley is that our Super was considering other options, but that’s not unusual. No one knew why, for sure, he decided to stay in the Valley, but most of us were refined enough to know it was none of our business.
A palpable sense of tension permeated the room. Many of us looked at each other uneasily. She looked around, threw her hands in the air and added, “What? I’m just asking what all of us are thinking? Am I right?”
I, for one, wasn’t thinking that. I was thinking about the mini cupcakes left over from the previous night’s NHS induction ceremony that Jeanday was about to invite us to finish.
Needless to say after the meeting was adjourned her inappropriate question was whispered about as we headed back to our classrooms.
We had no idea that a few hours later things were about to get even more awkward. Farm Girl entered the lounge about 5th period looking a little bit shell-shocked. For someone who has castrated a bull, that’s saying something. Because it was our lunch period there were about 5-6 staff members crammed into this little hovel of a lounge.
Me: “What’s wrong, Farm Girl?”
Farm Girl: “They just told me I’m moving to the Middle School next year.”
Me: “What? Are you kidding?” I have to make a confession here. Most of us already knew she was moving. Since September we knew someone from the Science department was going to have to go. Since her classes usually watch YouTube videos, sun themselves, or in the case of her Physics classes this week (according to my son) play football and frisbee, it made sense. One prep down there. Eighth grade science as opposed to AP Biology, Physics, Chemestry – you know, college prep classes. There’s definitely less damage to be done in the eighth grade.
Farm Girl: “I just hope it’s because they think I can contribute something to the Middle School and not because they question my effectiveness in the high school.”
And there’s the awkward.
And to top off the awkwardness of the day was the actual lunch period. After Ms. No Snark, Jeanday, and I had our little falling out over being snarky at lunch we had not seen Ms. No Snark. However, she decided that today would be a good day to re-join the gang. Jeanday and I looked at each other over our Subway sandwiches, raised our eyebrows, and just kept chewing. If we were supposed to save our snark for later, we were just going to have to say nothing all period. So we sat. We chewed. There was awkward silence. What could we say without being snarky after the events of the morning?
And then there was 6th period. The Senior were filling out their Senior bests, trying to decide which Senior girl should be voted most likely to succeed. “Jane,” one of the students suggests. Another, from the back of the room pipes up, “Jane? No way. She just wants to be a teacher.” The students’ heads whip around to look at me.
Really? Hello. I’m sitting right here. Sigh….