Current/Recent Reading List

01 October 2007

Feeling More Like Home, In More Ways Than One

Well, last week was the first full one where things at the new school just seemed like home - right down to the petty things (lost planning period time) that all high schools seem to engender, and that seem designed merely to piss off teachers.

But really, it was a good week, and I can feel my confidence level rising with the kids, and can tell that - like my old kids - they like me and like the class. That is, if they have to have an English class, mine seems fine to be in.

I was all prepared to gush about this toward the end of last week, but lack of time and 28 essays intervened. And then, on Friday afternoon right at the 4th period bell, I heard the dulcet strains of, "MR. P., THERE'S A FIGHT IN THE HALL!"

My first reaction to such news is always a) a barely suppressed "damn!", and b) heading toward the fight in a kind of "I'm trying to look concerned and in a hurry and in control while not really wanting to be in too much of a hurry, and not liking any of the alternatives actually open to me." So I tried to make my way through the throbbing crowd of shameless teenage onlookers, and saw, through the perfect circle they had formed aroung the festivities, two black girls beating the living snot out of each other. I have never seen a fight of such ferocity, and before I could get near them, one had flung the other through another teacher's doorway and into her room.

What I will always remember is the rush of students who immediately converged on the doorway, horrid little vultures ready to follow the fight into the classroom, and the fortunate circumstance that the teacher was standing close by to stop them. If she had not been there, I swear there would have been 100 kids in that room in no time. My view of human nature at that moment bordered on Mark Twain-esque pessimism (boy could he have written out that scene). Eventually I helped grab one girl and hold her away from the other, trying to hang on tight without actually breaking her lower ribs.

Some people leave a scene like that and shake for a while after. I didn't, but I marvel at how quickly such a situation focuses your entire being on one thing so sharply. I remember every detail of what I saw perfectly, but can't remember much about my own movement, or exactly how I made my way to the fight and helped break it up. Once you are sucked in to something like that, you are sucked in for good until it is long over.


Belle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Belle said...

The wrath and fury of the teen-aged girl.


Glad you are ok and not mentally bruised.

School Master P said...


No, not mentally bruised. But I'll tell you there are some mighty big boys I see up and down the hall that I would have no shot with. I'll draw the line at medium-sized boys who know I'm there, and not intending to get hit.