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JuicyLesson 268: Fear and Loathing in the Photocopy Room; a Run-In With a Teacher … World Cup Action-Jackson Photos …

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imageToday some music from Supertramp, “School” which starts off with a Roger Hodgson rap and a cool little harp solo which really wails.

Tomorrow: Rioting in Argentina and Celebrations in Berlin as well as Diego Maradonna’s opinion on the selection of Argentina’s Lionel Messi as the 2014 winner of the Golden Boot emblematic of the most outstanding player in the World Cup finals. Also, tomorrow, I will present a comment from an ‘old’ student, not ‘old’ in the chronological sense, but old as in ‘ex’-student

But first today’s Juice. It’s a Bialik story. It’s all true.
As you will read, I originally wrote this for inclusion in my book, “Aim with your heart; shoot with your mind”, [due to be published by next summer at the very latest; that’s the plan anyway but who knows for sure? For more on this, check out relevant parts of Wednesday’s (yesterday’s) JL, #267] … as I was saying, the contents of today’s JuicyLesson were originally intended to be included as part of the book, but we’ll just have to see about that.

An incredible and somewhat alarming event occurred in the photocopy room at the private school – actually lots of amusing stuff used to occur there almost on a weekly basis as teachers and da big guy fought tooth and nail to get their photocopying, (including automated ‘collate’ and ‘staple’ functions) done.

In order to give more people time on the machine, especially between 7:30 and 8:30, prior to the start of classes – when the heat was on to get our photocopying done, especially if it was needed for the first class, or two, or three, before one had a teaching break at which point another trip the the photocopier would be in order … as I was saying, in order to ensure that more teachers had some time at the machine, we implemented a rule, sanctioned by Staff Council if memory serves, whereby each teacher was to have five minutes or was it ten(?) anyway, regardless, there were a certain number of minutes allotted for each staff member to use the machine.
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As previously stated in this work, I used to make a determined and 100% successful effort to arrive early, at 7:15 or 7:20, so that I could do my work with no pressure from others waiting to get at the machine.

By 7:45 or 7:50, when others began to arrive, I was already done, most of the times, and was long gone before the bickering started. “I’m next.” “No. I am.” “No. I was here first,” and so on.

One day, one of the other teachers who used the machine almost as much as I did which was a lot approached me to ask how much work I had to do in an effort to find out for how long I planned to use the machine.

Tangent: I relied on the machine tremendously. My stencils are famous (or infamous in some cases) for being on legal size paper, which, the students always complained never fit into their binders … They have to be folded over … Never really cared about that complaint. I really don’t know why, either. Just one of those things.

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Now back on track: when this teacher queried me as to how long I was going to be on the machine and I told her that I was planning to use my complete time allotment, she responded to me with what seemed like a reasonable request at the time.

“Would you be kind enough to let me in. I have two copies to make. Just two.”

I answered in the affirmative and was surprised and quite annoyed to see this teacher running off many copies, rather than just the two she had asked to run off. Rather than let it go, I said something directly to her about her having lied to me to get her way.

Honestly, I don’t recall how this entire sequence of events concluded, but I definitely remember asking another teacher who had witnessed the entire incident what she thought about what she had seen.

Her answer: “You called her a liar.” Fuck!

Turns out that this woman (not the one whose perception I just questioned, the other one, the photocopy lady) was a real piece of work except for one thing which I had always respected about her. I don’t know if I have already told this particular story or not in this book, so if I have, please bear with me while I recount it – albeit in shortened form – she was asked to give a speech for a retiring and I must say a highly unpopular, amongst staff anyway, principal who had served in that capacity for around ten years. Anyway, this teacher responded that they better get someone else to speak at this particular principal’s retirement event, because even though the retiring principal had actually requested that this specific teacher speak on behalf of the whole staff at the dinner, that she, the teacher, wasn’t planning to attend the event. Even. Made a lot of points with that all of which she has managed to forfeit, over time, with shit like that which follows.

While serving as 2nd Vice-President of our teachers’ union, the beloved and most valuable Federation of Teachers of Jewish Schools (FTJS), my most important job was to organize, coordinate and administer the federation’s annual Teachers’ Convention for held every February.

I liked to use our school as the site for this convention because of my familiarity with custodial staff, whose role was integral especially in setting up overnight in the wake of the school fashion show, which took place on the night prior to our convention, and with the lay-out of the building. Your floor plan came in handy in that regard by the way. It’s interesting that no principal before you ever thought of getting a floor plan of the school done, but as I always say, you definitely had vision.

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Anyway, in my second to last year as Federation 2nd V.P., our convention, as per usual during my tenure in that union role, was at our school. No sooner did the convention booklet appear, then this teacher, the one from the photocopy room, comes running up to me saying something to the effect that we had to move the workshop which we had scheduled for the classroom in which this teacher worked. Why?

Because there was a Smart Board in that particular room and she was concerned for its safety!

I refused to make the change due to the fact that it would have provided me with extra work. Besides, with the Smart Board being covered up, as it was, there was absolutely no danger of anything untoward happening to it. We are adults for fuck sake, not kids. I am not sure whether this teacher was just picking a fight or if she was genuinely concerned about her board’s safety.

As for the kids view of this particular teacher, some perceive her as a meanie but I don’t put too much stock in that due to the fact that kids characterize teachers as mean sometimes when the teacher is challenging the student to behave, or to work to potential, for instance. I am certain that some of the students who were in our classes would characterize me as mean, because I was strict, or considered to be so by certain students with whom I came into contact over the years.

As you would say, Paul, tough!

Before proceeding, I have to say that I have never seen myself as behaving in a mean, vindictive manner or in a way which demeans my students or anyone else for that matter. I don’t operate that way and people who know me – both friends and ‘enemies’ – will tell you that. I have been known to scream at kids when I was pissed but that passes quickly and when I freaked out – yelling, spitting, the whole bit, sometimes gesticulating almost madly – it didn’t usually have a lasting bearing on my relationship with the student who had made me angry. I think students recognized my infrequent freak-outs for what they were – release of anger and relief from associated stress, and most of all, as demonstrative of extreme disappointment with students, most of whom used to love me and I used to love them, not back, but first.

“Would you like to have you as a teacher today?”

I loved my students first, not all of them, there are a handful which, put it this way, I do not remember fondly, but the great majority were loved, respected and extremely well-taught by me. That’s all right here. Right. Now. Right here, right now.

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But among the people she worked with, this teacher was far from popular or respected. Evidence of this can be found in the following anecdote, which, admittedly, is based on here-say because when it happened, I was no longer at Bialik, having moved on to greener pastures of progressive, alternative education at Phoenix..

It seems that this teacher received a high honour by being nominated for and being the recipient of an award for teaching excellence and the rest of the staff didn’t seem to give a shit, at least that’s the word on the street. In case you’re wondering, I have never been so honoured and may have been jealous at the time had I been there and seen it all happening but I am not the least bit jealous now.

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Now for those promised World Cup action-Jackson shots:

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Above: Argentina’s Gonzalo Higuain scores an off-side goal during the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. The goal was not counted. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

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Above: Argentina’s forward and captain Lionel Messi (L) heads the ball past Germany’s defender Mats Hummels during the 2014 FIFA World Cup final football match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDANELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images

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Above: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JULY 13: Model Gisele Bundchen looks on prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

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Above:RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JULY 13: Mario Goetze of Germany scores his team’s first goal and, in fact, the only marker of the match, past Sergio Romero of Argentina in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final match between Germany and Argentina at Maracana on July 13, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

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Above: Germany’s forward Mario Goetze celebrates after scoring during extra time of the 2014 FIFA World Cup final football match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSENODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

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Above: Germany’s defender and captain Philipp Lahm (front-2R) holds up the World Cup trophy as he celebrates with his teammates after winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup final 1-0 following extra-time at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 13, 2014. PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images

May your weekdays be joyful and your weekends even more so …

Peace.

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