02 November 2016

Herein I Introduce Five Teachers, You May Recognize One or More


“Teachers, let me tell you, are born deceivers of the lowest sort, since what they want from life is impossible -- time-freed existential youth forever. it commits them to terrible deceptions and departures from the truth”. - From The Sportswriter by Richard Ford

The female English teacher wears long loose blouses and long colorful scarves and has tousled hair. She sports spectacles and often these hang around her neck on a chain. You’ll hear her talk lovingly of some students that all other teachers hate because she managed to get some personal, touching writing out of them. She is forever busy and preoccupied yet always way behind in her grading. She drives a mid sized car to her modest home. Her husband seems world beaten and bemused yet somehow a happy loving spouse and their children are precocious. She’s a below average cook and barely adequate at keeping house. Outside of her classroom (and sometimes within) she talks way too much. No colleagues hate or even dislike the female English teacher although some are easily annoyed by her. The teacher is too busy to read much anymore but knows a little bit about virtually every acclaimed writer and every highly regarded novel. There’s always one popular writer she extolls and another she reviles. The female English teacher eats huge salads.

The first year male history teacher is self important and immovable in his opinions. He holds other teachers in low regard, particularly the veterans, save one who he considers a mentor. Colleagues are put off by his brusqueness although male teachers envy his cute girlfriend who has short dark hair  and a perfect figure. The first year male history teacher has strong, politically oriented views on historical people, events and epochs as well as events of the day and these opinions often seep into his lessons. He is a passionate teacher and believes that he can teach anyone and is on the verge of saving the world. He is proud of his innovative lessons and overuses them. Students either love him or hate him and a few have crushes on him. Some students love to talk to him so they hang around in his classroom after school to chat. He drives a small older model car that is idiosyncratic. He has a small apartment that is a mess but proudly boasts no TV.  The first year male history teachers loves Chinese food which he eats with chopsticks.

The aging science teacher has developed a paunch and lost the majority of his hair. He laughs loudly at his own jokes although no one else does, particularly not his students who find him aggravating. He used to give too much homework but now he doesn’t give enough because he's well tired of grading. Parents complain about him but he’s got tenure and has never done anything egregious so he’ll hang on until retirement. The aging science teacher relies on the textbook and the same teaching methods he employed when his career began 35 years prior. His grading is wildly inconsistent, although he tends to give good grades to students on the honor roll whether they merit them or not. The aging science teacher knows his stuff as far as it goes in the classroom but beyond that he knows very little about science. People are forever asking him questions about a rock they found or what planet is what or about the digestive system and he unfailingly manages to fake a plausible answer. Around colleagues he is a hail-fellow-well-met. Most don’t have a lot of respect for him but most like him well enough. He drives a new over-sized car. At his lovely suburban home he spends most of his time in an easy chair watching whatever sports event is on. His wife brings him meals where he sits. The aging science teacher likes pork chops.

The female PE teacher is a lesbian. Everyone recognizes her sexual orientation save a few dim-witted students. She realizes that being a lesbian PE teacher fits a stereotype but she doesn’t give a damn. There is much that she does not give a damn about. She seems to draw no pleasure out of her job but is fiercely dedicated to it. The female PE teacher is a stickler for details and discipline and students toe the line with her because failing to do so will result in consequences. None of her disciplinary threats are idle and she rarely passes problem students on to administrators. Her lessons are meticulously planned and she always receives glowing evaluations. For the most part students hate her. She knows this and doesn't give a damn. Most of the hatred stems from her unyielding discipline and her total humorlessness. Somehow she takes the fun out of playing games. The female PE teacher has cordial relations with all her colleagues but is close to no one except the closeted female administrator and the gay drama teacher. She drives a new mid-sized car and lives with her partner in a fixer upper. Her partner is a successful gardener and they both work together to keep an immaculate house. She never goes to staff parties. The female PE teacher likes cinnamon bagels.

The 40ish math teacher already has some gray in his hair. He is an everyman loved or at least liked by co-workers and neighbors, respected by administrators and appreciated by students. He realizes that many students hate math so he works tirelessly to make it as palatable as possible and even sometimes fun. Most students like him a lot except those who can’t countenance doing homework or studying for tests and thus receive failing grades. They blame their teacher although they harbor no real ill will towards him. The 40ish math teacher usually wears a white dress shirt and often a tie that he invariably loosens by mid morning. He is whirling dervish of activity during class, writing an example on the board, dashing over to help a student with a question, checking on another student, trying to coax another into making an effort.  He drives a mid priced foreign car to his very middle class home which is in a very middle class neighborhood. He has a wife with a slightly hire paying job and two children that he loves unconditionally. He attends church services but rarely invokes God or theology while talking with anyone. He bikes on weekends and occasionally goes backpacking. The 40ish math teacher loves broiled salmon.

The young male Spanish teacher is half Scotch Irish and half Russian Jew but he identifies only with Latinos. He has even adopted a Spanish first name. He lived in various parts of Central and South American for over a year, backpacking and hitch hiking his way from Mexico to the south of Chile. He is fluent in Spanish though with a thick accent. Of course, the young male Spanish teacher has a girlfriend from Mexico — he wouldn’t have it any other way. He is a passionate teacher though often over zealous and intolerant of students who aren’t in love with the Spanish language. He favors his Mexican American and African American students and is a total Anglophobe. The young male Spanish teacher bicycles everywhere though he does have a car that he uses for shopping and trips to the beach. Co workers find him a bit over the top but indulge him because he is a dedicated and effective teacher. The young male Spanish teacher is indulgent of his colleagues but believes he’s got the jump on all of them because of his travel experiences and his keen understanding of Central and South American cultures. He lives in a small cottage behind a big house with his girlfriend and a cat called Fidel. The young male Spanish teachers loves empanadas. 

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