Monday, August 06, 2007

Mutiny on the campus

There's a mutiny afoot at my school.

Our Principal has no people skills. Everybody hates him. EVERYBODY. He's angry all the time, he loves to hear himself talk over the intercom, and he constantly brags about all the amazing things he's done in his 38 years of life. Never before have I met a man who was both a Navy Seal and a midwife who graduated from college while he was still in high school.

He'd be a great cartoon if he didn't intimidate the crap out of everyone he meets.

To his credit, the school is a safer place with Principal in charge because everybody is scared of him. But that's the only thing to his credit.

He constantly tells us how horrible we are, how little we care about the kids, how much we should try to be more like him and have as little fun as possible while we work every day. And he's doing his best to make that happen.

Remember my friends, the married couple? Well, Roger is also something of an abrasive personality. He comes to meetings with a permanent scowl on his face and does not know how to pick his battles. His wife sits behind him, nodding in agreement and also scowling.

Recently the three of us were called separately into the office where Principal reprimanded us for not paying enough attention at a recent meeting. I explained that I did all the assignments and was then bored so I played on the internet. He told me to be more attentive next time and sent me on my way. It was annoying, but hardly worth fighting over.

When Roger and Catherine got the same reprimand, they yelled and screamed an sent around a memo to everybody about how horrible Principal is.

They don't pick their battles.

That's why when they really had a problem, I was not really inclined to support them. Principal recently walked into a staff meeting and berated Roger in front of everybody for discouraging lower level students from taking his AP English class. Some of these kids failed his English class last semester. Principal's response? "They didn't fail you, you failed them."

Then on Friday Roger used his loyal students to make a point. He walked them into his wife's classroom where Principal was observing and had them demand books and equipment from Principal. Principal was embarrassed and ordered Roger to stop disrupting Catherine's class. Roger refused. Principal called the cops and had Roger removed from campus.

This weekend was a flurry of phone calls and emails as the staff discussed these developments and their combined hatred of Principal. I keep my mouth shut, not because I'm trying to save my skin or anything nefarious, but because I honestly think people bitch too much around here. I come from a non-union state where you just have to suck some things up and deal, and most of the problems with this school are caused not by Principal but by the bureaucrats at the District.

I would also probably be a lot more willing to help if Roger hadn't turned into a massive douchebag the day he got married.

Roger has now whipped his kids and their parents into a frenzy and they are currently protesting Principal's behavior outside the school. They're suggesting that he's trying to take AP out of the school, which is a big stretch on the truth.

Nonetheless, Principal is a pretty tyrannical overlord and it is good to see the kids riled up about something other than Myspace.

The kids asked why I wasn't protesting. I explained that I have to be here teaching and don't have time to stand on a picket line.

But I'm not sure if I'd protest even if I didn't have to work today. I think a lot of this is a personal grievance that has been blown out of proportion. Then again, Principal has done everything he can to secure an iron grip on the school, only freeing up money for his pet projects and leaving everybody else to fend for themselves. And he plants his face in front of the TV cameras as often as possible when he has something to brag about.

He's not exactly planting his face in front of the cameras today, though. He hasn't even come near the protesters, probably because he's concerned the vein on his forehead will explode all over them.

Today is the day I really wish I ran a school newspaper. Unfortunately, Principal would never free up to money to start one and he probably wouldn't allow me to print this story.


  1. For some twenty years people have asked me why I have zero interest -- NADA -- in teaching.

    Stories like this are the reason.

    In my experience, the sorts of people who wind up as educational administrators are exactly the sort we as parents should be most leery of having in charge of our children's educational process. They're not evil (usually, but Lord knows they often seem confused and misguided.

    'Course, the alternative is home-schooling, and the biggest appeal of schools remains the fact that they are not in my own home. Get the little bastards away from me!

    I do like pie, however.
    taking the tough stand B

  2. Good luck surviving the uprising! I hope things turn out for the best.

  3. You mentioned a desire to publish a school paper to express yourself on the events at hand? Well, you already write ONE blog - why not another? Who reads newspapers anymore, anyway - it's all blogs and MySpace pages and such. I'd suggest making it more anonymous - unless you don't have a problem putting your name out there next to what you plan to write...

  4. That's a VERY different animal. The school paper is run by kids, expressing their views and allowing them to investigate events at the school. And it's completely legitimate. They don't have to be afraid to put their names on it. That's the kind of journalism I teach.


Please leave a name, even if it's a fake name. And try not to be an asshole.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.