A Little Too Much Mayhem for Me
I suppose we all ask ourselves this question once in a while – or maybe it’s just a sign of getting old, you know, “The good ol' days,” mentality when the good ol' days weren’t really that good, but that’s how we remember them.
But. What the hell is going on in this country? Seriously. In all my years of schooling, I don’t think I ever had anyone threaten to stab me. (At least I’m pretty sure. Maybe they talked about that behind my back.) And yes, I went to Catholic grade school for 8 years (explains a lot, doesn’t it?), and yes, I went to the whitest of the white high schools in perhaps the whitest suburb in the world so perhaps I am not comparing apples to apples (as my friends back in Corporate America liked to say. BTW? Hate that phrase.)
And, it’s migrating upward. We have a wonderful professor in our department who came from a large state school in the south. By “school,” I mean “college,” just so we’re clear. She told me she witnessed a student PUNCH a professor in the FACE because of some disagreement over a grade. A strong right hook. And, ironically, the professor had broken his arm recently so was wearing a cast. Why don’t you kick a three-legged puppy while you’re at it? Not enough to PUNCH your professor in the face, you have to punch your professor who has one functioning arm and one broken one. Call me crazy, but isn’t, say, an “F” in history not nearly as bad as “assault and battery” on your permanent, CRIMINAL record?
One of the things that jumped out at me in Kerri’s post was how much things have changed. (I know. Duh.) But let me elaborate: The thing about the student, the hairbrush and her throwing it in the trashcan? And the parents getting all riled up and now Teacher Kerri has to replace the hairbrush? I think that’s very telling. And it’s not telling us a good thing. I’m not a parent, so I’ll be interested to know what parents have to say about this. Maybe I’ll get a lot of angry posts telling me I don’t know how hard it is to teach kids to value their possessions and then a teacher flings something in the trash and that whole lesson is right out the window. We shall see.
But. I still remember the nuns (ooh, perhaps not the best example) saying, “If I have to tell you to put X away one more time, I’m going to take it away from you.” And sometimes they added, “And you’re not going to get it back, either.” I have a hunch that if, say, I had been compulsively brushing my hair in the classroom (and I’m about 99% sure (Ew! Gross!) that I did – what with the layering and flipping involved, plus I enjoyed displaying my giant comb for all the class to see) and Sister Mary Hot Flash took away my giant purple comb that read, “If You Can Read This, You’re Too Close” and threw it in the trash, well? Too damn bad for me. I can picture the conversation at home that night going like this:
Me: Mom, Sister Mary Hot Flash is, like, SO mean. She, like, totally, like took my comb away in class and like, totally embarrassed me in front of EVERYONE.
Mom: Why did you have your comb out in the middle of class?
Me: Well, because it was, like, after lunch and it was really hot and stuff and --
Mom: Is there a rule about not combing your hair in the middle of class?
Me: Well, not really a hard and fast rule, you know, more like, sort of a guideline --
Mom: Well, that’s too bad.
Me: Will you buy me another comb?
Mom: I don’t think that’s my problem.
Me: WHAT?!?!?! But that’s so, like, NOT fair!! I wasn’t even DOING anything. (And then I probably said, “I hate you,” and “This is the worst family, EVER” and "I wish I'd never been BORN!" and a whole bunch of other things that made my mom wish she had decided to just raise dogs instead of kids.)
There is always the chance that I am deluding myself (and an excellent chance at that), but I really think if I had broken a rule, for the most part, my parents would have sided with Sister Mary Hot Flash and all the nuns over at Our Lady of Perpetual Sentence Diagramming. You know, sort of, “Well, you broke the rule – what did you think would happen? DUH.” (Although my mother, the English teacher, would never have said “Duh,” then. Now she says it all the time. Guess where she used to teach? A giant public middle school in a very socio-economically disadvantaged area. Sorry. I digress.)
I actually just posted a “these darn kids today,” post and I’m so weirded out that I’m going to put on my cardigan, go get my Ricola and my bi-focals and sit on my lawn chair in the driveway and read Reader’s Digest until I feel better.