“I summoned you here, Mr. Cartwright because of the strings of complaints I’d received from the parents of the students of the twelve graders about the mass failure recorded in the last Literature test. I trust your father must have told you all about our school’s commendable reputation and how we treasure our grades than anything else. Bless his heart, I’d like to know though if you’re encountering any difficulties since the beginning of your temporary appointment here so I can…see where I can help out.” Principal Churchill droned, lifting a perfectly manicured finger to stop her glasses from falling over the bridge of her stubby nose.
I wrenched my attention from the office’s monochromatic features and trophy case filled with awards the school had won to the fierce unsmiling lady watching me with a neutral gaze, her eyes narrowed. Shit. I hadn’t been paying attention at all.
“If you don’t mind Ma’am, I was thinking – “
“Mr. Cartwright.” She interrupted me, drumming her fingers on the desk and consulting her brown leather watch. “I’d like you to know I have more important things to attend to so it’d be best you saved me my time.”
“Yes, well…” I trailed off, feeling trapped in a tight corner. “The students are the cause of their failure Ma’am. They’ve simply refused to be attentive in class and threatening them with detention is considered a bluff. I’ve tried all I can and was about telling you about it before the test – “
“It seems to me that you haven’t established your control over the class which is why they’ve refused to take you seriously.”
“Well, students are always disrespectful to teachers…“ I laughed nervously.
“I take an exception to that, Mr. I previously taught biology before my appointment as a Principal ten years ago. It all depends on your demeanor in your first class with them. I have cause to believe you’d been playful to gain their trust and the disadvantages are exactly what you’re passing through right now.”
“I’d only wanted to be friendly because I thought it’d make the class fun for everyone.”
“That’s a weak excuse,” She sighed, leaning back on her swivel chair. “Need I remind you that method is outdated? Students are wild these days and the best way to combat this is to stand your ground as a stern teacher and instill discipline where necessary.”
“I – “
“We’re done now, Mr. Cartwright.” She motioned at the door dismissively. “I’ve got a meeting with the school council in five minutes. I trust you’d think over what we’d just discussed and find a way to avoid such an unfortunate occurrence in the future. You may leave now.”
“Thanks, Principal Churchill.” I got up and snailed my way out of the office toward the outer boy’s bathroom. Anger, humiliation, and self-loathing whooshed through my soul, creating an itch of desperation I wanted to scratch away so bad.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
At any rate, I may not be renewed as a substitute teacher next school session and my dad stood a chance at losing his job unless I pull my shit together and assert my authority over the students with the hopes of transforming them into attentive human beings. To add to my list of misfortunes, this little mishap made Principal Churchill delay my salary till the middle of the month to see if there’d be an improvement in my Literature classes with the twelve graders and we had just received a notice that we were gonna be kicked out of our apartment if we failed to pay before the end of next week. Father’s medical bills had not been handled and I was falling apart from all the pressure.
Also, my girlfriend of six years since we both left high school fired me a breakup message through text this morning telling me she found someone much better and that I and my broke arse could go to hell for all she cared.
So for the first time in six years, I was heading home without a pussy waiting and I was in no mood to head out to the nearby club for a hookup.
Rock. Meet. Bottom.
When did it all go wrong?
I could tell you when – right after I accepted this stupid job, that’s when.
Teaching wasn’t a career option I’d considered during my childhood. It was the worst profession ever and eight years ago, right after I started high school I got accepted by NHL and was about to fulfill my lifelong dream to become a professional footballer. That was what my father had wanted for me and I’d worked towards it my whole damn life. I’d won trophies just as big and glassy as those in Principal Churchill’s office for the school and I’d been the rave of the moment, the guy every girl wanted but never stood a chance to have because they were deemed an unwelcome distraction.
I was scheduled to play for the big games shortly after graduation. When I said my goodbyes to my family and waved at them from the security point at the airport, they’d told me to take a dive. Fifty-five minutes into the match, I literally did. Dived and almost got my balls damaged from the strong force with which the ball hit me in my bid to stop it from entering the net.
That small accident not only killed my career dreams and lifelong plan by inflicting me with a phobia for football but also rendered me useless that by the age of twenty I’d sunken into a great void of depression. After three years of sulking, feeling sorry for myself, and seeing a therapist, my dad got into a really bad accident that left his car wrecked and a few limbs broken. His hands and legs were all in castes and there was no way he could teach with those, so I volunteered to be his substitute till he got back on his feet and passed the short test Principal Churchill gave me to test if I was truly worthy of the position. I thought it’d be a fun challenge because my dad did it. My grandmother was a teacher. Everyone in the family loved teaching.
For a while I did. Now I hate it with every fiber of my being.
This was my second-month teaching and judging by my performance, my last month at All Saints High in Todos Santos, California. Principal Churchill was one of the most influential women in town and her polished bitchery was infamous to its indigenes. And she absolutely despised and thought me unworthy of the job from the get-go. There was no use trying to impress her. My days here were numbered.
As I approached my beat-up jalopy parked across the aisle from her Highlander and her new boyfriend’s Range Rover (Yeah, she divorced her husband two years ago for obvious reasons and she gets to bang a new man every week. Seriously, what sort of example is she setting for her son? Won’t she deflate her giant-sized ego and either get back with her hubby or settle down?) It was none of my business though. I needed to get home and update Father on what happened today.