An Unexpected Meeting, and The Importance of A Balanced Breakfast.
Friday was a busy day.
I had my grade report to complete, and the MISIS system was not cooperating about generating the Verification of Grade Report. In addition, I had agreed to do a guest lecture, a sort of question and answer session, with the Journalism class on my conference period. That turned out to be pretty rewarding, but delayed the completion of other tasks. My conference period is second period, so I still had the remainder of the day to get things squared away.
A few minutes into period three, my wall phone rang. I answered it, to be met by one of the office staff on the other end. “Where were you last period? The principal wanted to meet with you. It was very important.”
This confused me. I had no notification of the principal needing to talk to me at all. I decided to go with the best option, the truth. “I was giving a guest lecture in room 52.”
“Well…the principal was very insistent. We went someone out to look for you, but you weren’t in your room.”
“Um….that’s because I was giving a guest lecture in Room 52.”
The voice on the other end turned a bit snippy. “She’ll need to see you after school. Make yourself available.”
In my mind, if the boss wants to talk to me, the boss can do it whenever they want. I said as much, offering to step out of class for a moment, or meet during lunch. The reply was more or less a “whatever,” with dead air on the other end afterward. That’s about when the freakout began.
What could this be about? I had been crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s, as the metaphor suggested. Granted, I was at that point fifteen minutes late with my Grade Verifications, but the principal was looking for me before they were late. Could it have been the in depth discussion of profit margins in a loan sharking operation, with my classes? That was actually VERY relevant to the novel we were reading! Perhaps it had something to do with the near mutiny in class over air conditioning…which I thought I handled deftly. Or maybe it was something completely unknown to me, yet deadly serious. It certainly sounded that way, from the secretary’s tone.
At lunch, I made a beeline to the main office. There, I found that the Principal was locked in a meeting, and although I waited…it was to no avail. The whole time, the office staff would not suggest to me what the missed meeting earlier might be about.
Needing to return to class, I attempted to table the feelings of dread on the Mystery Meeting, and get on with business. Grades needed to be updated, class discussions about right and wrong in character interactions needed to happen, and that Verification Report needed to be printed. There was enough to do to keep my mind more or less off of the subject, but it nagged at me. The entire school seemed to live in fear of the Principal, as a sort of omnipotent force of discipline and rage. I hadn’t seen that yet, but didn’t really need it in my life, you know?
Directly after school, I made a second beeline to the office. There, I caught the principal, on the way to a meeting. “You needed to see me? I was told it was really an urgent matter, and I wasn’t available before.”
“Oh yes. I need you to double check the tally for the breakfast in the classroom initiative. We’ve had a discrepancy, and are trying to run down where it’s happening. A double check would help out a whole lot.” The principal then explained exactly the procedure that should be followed, to ensure things were kosher, while I exhaled, relieved. It wasn’t that big a deal at all.
“I’m very sorry to have missed earlier,” I explained. “I’m not the kind of person that skates out on a meeting with the Boss.”
The principal seemed confused. “Don’t worry about it. That’s not the way things are done here, and we like the job you’re doing.”
I walked away, puzzled, until I found my friend, and told HER the whole story. She had a pretty fascinating insight into it. Apparently, all calls that I get from the office staff are going to have that tone. It’s not so much that the Principal is a disciplinarian, that the office staff always present it like the person on the other end of the line is in some kind of cosmic scale trouble. At least, that’s what my few friends had to say.
I think I’ll continue to be extra polite in the main office, in the hopes of minimizing that. Still…it was refreshing to be concerned about this sort of thing, as opposed to last year’s concerns, which were more about day to day survival…both professionally and physically. I think it may take a little time to get out of those hyper defensive habits, and assume a real level of comfort. I’m hoping that being asked to be a guest lecturer in classes of real intellectual value will start to offset that.
Still…the “big problem” was a breakfast procedure, which wasn’t a big problem at all. I can learn to live with that.
About the art…the Lord of the Edu-Mountain was seen once before, at the beginning of the summer, with the whole “knighting.” Panel two was pretty fun to draw, and really reflects how far toward the edge of campus, in a remote location, my classroom is. The last panel does in fact feature a hastily borrowed helmet, which I doubt we will see again. I just don’t like the design that much. I had considered one of the old Iron Man style helmets, but decided that it didn’t fit the Science Fantasy design elements at all. I more imagine that the old helmet is on the wall in that Edu-Shack that is depicted in panel two, as decoration.
Just saying…those were my thoughts. None of them really bring that much more to the strip, which I was very happy with.