Creative (Non)Fiction, education station


This is one of those random stories I was talking about…

I was about 34 and in his office.

He, on the other hand, couldn’t have been more than 27.

This wasn’t the only time this would happen to me. Chastized, scolded, treated as an underling, when in fact, I was someone’s elder.

To what did I owe this encounter?

Somehow, it had gotten out that I had called Mrs. Smith–the teacher I had been summoned to replace. The subject? French.

Years ago, I’d known it well enough to have kept a drunken Quebecois man at bay. Yet to contend with a room full of teenagers…?

Something in the day’s instructions had given me pause.

So I picked up the phone.

Our exchange had been light, airy–even sunshiny.

“Have a lovely time with my kids!”


“Let me know if you need anything else!”

But here I was, sitting on the opposite side of the vice principal’s desk.

For some reason, the fact that I’d dared to call a colleague was alarming.

I was being reprimanded. I was there without cause, and I was in shock.

I held my tongue. For a second, I considered the expression on my face. Did I look afraid? I was.

Any misstep with these people could mean the end of my career.

All the while, I had wanted to defend myself…

Did you know that I used to go here? If you look closely enough at the photos of the alumni in the hallway upstairs, you’ll find me. (I’d wanted to add “…before you were born….” to my imaginary rant. I’d wanted the VP to feel the weight that the phrase could bring, even though it wasn’t accurate.)

Did you know that some of the teachers and staff who knew me still work here?

This school was every bit my turf as it was his.

And then there was the question that I wanted to ask most of all…Why are you talking to me like I’m 12? I’M A PROFESSIONAL!! I hadn’t called Mrs. Smith so I could ask her how to bake a pie. I know how to speak to my colleagues. I may be sweet, but I am not a fool.

There are a few things that I reckon I will miss about my non-career as a teacher. The rudeness of some of my coworkers is NOT one of them.


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