Walking back into the room, we find Mr. Green sitting at his desk, talking on his cell phone in a low but frustrated tone. The young men sit down at their tables. We begin our morning icebreaker.
“Good morning, good morning. Are we ready for a brand new day? We will talk about your weekend. We will talk about our schedule for the day. We will talk about…”
“WHAT FOR LUNCH!!!” Michael blurts out with a big grin on his face. “Michael want to know what for lunch. Michael hungry.” Lord, this boy is ALWAYS hungry. We just ate breakfast.
“Yes Michael, we will talk about lunch but we must do our schoolwork first.”
Michael looks down and mumbles, “I want lunch.”
As I lay out the items needed for the lesson, Mr. Green finally joins us at the large table for math activity.
“I did not think that you would join us today. You seem extremely distracted by other things.”
Slowly looking up from his cell with the usual scowl on his face he snaps.
“Don’t worry about what I am. Let’s just get these lessons over with. I have to run an errand at lunch.”
Fine, I thought. We will have a nice quiet lunch in the class with no negative vibes. When he is out, the environment is so tranquil. That is, if he does not aggravate the fellas before he leaves.
I return from the copy room to find the fellas sitting at their desks doing nothing constructive. Some are drawing, sleeping, playing with their fingers, talking to themselves. Green is on his phone as usual. It does no good to complain. Employees that do not rock the boat are great employees according to our department supervisors’ way of thinking. Lord this day can’t be over fast enough. Oh well, time for pre-lunch preparation.
Rising from his seat, Mr. Green starts. “Ms. White, I need for you to take the young men to the restroom and prepare for lunch. I have things to do so don’t lose anyone while I’m gone. This just might be the day your luck runs out. I can hear it now, “Teacher loses student due to her incompetence.”
“Why are you so mean Mr. Green. If you hate this job so much, why not leave. I know that we all would be better off if you did.” OOOOhhhhhhhhhhh. My mouth is going to get me fired. I must stop saying what I think of this fool out loud.
“I apologize Mr. Green. That was rude and out of line.”
I try to be congenial and smile as we move toward the classroom exit. I continue.
“We really have to work together Mr. Green. Especially for the sake of our young men.”
Mr. Green, jumping up, slams his hand on the desk.
“Woman, look at those blank expressions. They don’t have a clue what is going on. All they care about is eating and all I care about is me so do your job and let me do mine.”
Looking over the group, I notice Michael becoming agitated. He begins to jump and shout.
“No yelling! No yelling at her! Don’t do that! No yelling at her!”
As I move toward Michael, Green moves toward him as well. In a less than sincere tone, Green speaks.
“Quiet Michael and get in line. We have things to do and no one has time for your games. Take them to lunch Ms. White so I can take care of my business.”
Just as I was about to respond, Michael took off out the door like a bullet out of a gun chamber.
“Oh no! Michael! Come back! Great! Now look what you have done Mr. Green. Are you going after him?” I am thankful that the remaining students are oblivious to what is occurring. “Well, are you?”
Gathering his phone and keys Green moves toward the exit.
“Didn’t I say that I had things to do during lunch. I guess you better figure something out. Oh dear, this just may spoil your perfect record of ‘no incidents’. The forms are on my desk just in case he decides to take a walk in the swamp. I’m gone.”
While he is walking out of the door, Principal Redding walks in. PERFECT TIMING!!!
Mr. Redding is a pleasant sort of person who truly cares for the children of this center. To compare Redding and Green is like comparing Santa to the Grinch. Having my guys return to the table, I speak with great panic on my face.
“Mr. Redding, Michael has run out of the class and I need help with my group while I go after him.” Already making my way to the exit. “Please? I am worried that Michael may head to the swamp.”
“Now hold on Ms. White, Mr. Green is here. He and I will retrieve the young man while you take these fellas to lunch. You men are hungry I’m sure.”
He smiles at them as he speaks. That is one of the things that is so great about Mr. Redding. No matter the level of intellectual challenge, he speaks to them as if they understand what he is talking about. “Let’s go Green.”
Squirming in his shoes, Green attempts to hide the cell phone in his hands. He tries to make his excuse to leave.
“Ah, Mr. Redding, I have to run a quick errand. I am sure that Ms. White can handle this matter. As you can attest to, she is quite capable on her own. I would stay but this matter is extremely important.” He begins to step out of the class door.
Mr. Reddings’ cheeks were crimson at this point. Oh, he is going to get it now. Finally!
“Green. I have had just about enough of you and your antics. You are responsible for this class and I expect you to step up and do the job. If you find this to be a problem, I can assure you that I am more than happy to make other arrangements.”
Mr. Green turns to face Mr. Redding. What? Mr. Green is finally backed into a corner? He has to help me now.
“Well, Mr. Redding I . . .”
Suddenly Mr. Center rushes into the room.
“Ms. White, come quickly. Michael has climbed the tree behind the school and we can’t get him to come down.”
Mr. Center exits as quickly as he entered.
“Mr. Green.” I begin in an almost pleading tone. “Mr. Green you have to help me. This is your class. We have to get him out of that tree before he gets hurt.”
more to come . . .