Day 19 Saturday June 12, 2010: Scarborough Faire


Today is Saturday, June 12, 2010 and Day 19 of my time left at the Mont, as reckoned by school calendar year, July 1 being the Beginning. I also have 10 school days left. Today I’m training a recalcitrant laptop which is intent upon doing things its own way. I’m starting to relate to it (maybe channeling a “Star Trek” episode. I wonder if the administration looks at me the same way. Damn it! I even went with the same picture from HBO’s “Rome” as the background as I have on the other laptop. (For the record, my desktop has the painting “A Knight at the Crossroads” by the Russian artist Victor Vanetsov). And have loaded up all my favorites on there. But I guess that’s what the administration did with the Mont, eh? I wonder how the Mont will perform after all that work? Will Superintendent Balderas—whoops, I mean Mr. Balderas take the Mont back to the shop after purchasing it with an SIG grant we did not earn? Time will tell.


And so will I… Heh.


It was a rough week, last week, so I’m running behind, busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest and lots of stuff dancing in between my hairy ears, so I’ll try to catch up.


Heard from the D7 “Job Fair” (hence my choice of song title to lead off with). You know the one and why some of you went there. Those of us who chose not to reapply to the Mont or were encouraged to reapply, did so, and were bounced, when we received our F.U. missives (some of them certified) were directed—that is the correct word--to call HR (need to use initials—gotta maintain my “cool” factor). Upon mentioning the Mont, I’m sure you were all handed leper bells and directed/suggested to attend the D7 job fair originally to be held at EdisonMiddle School, but then moved to MiramonteSchool—preregistration required, thank you very much. I did not attend, due primarily to a stiff neck (saw that coming, didn’t you?) and a spinal condition—I have one.


But I did hear about it. A little bird told me—actually a damned big one. Mat likes to crack most wise about how I can attract birds and children. The bird in question described how those who went were directed to sit on benches until told at 5:45 “Thank you very much. The job fair is over.” And, as I recall, there were precisely 3 Social Studies positions available within D7, but one of those was “filled.” So if Dr. George McKenna III (or Superintendent Cortines) insists on a Berlin Wall being erected around D7, and the other mini-Superintendents are getting as skittish about accepting the Mont’s cast-offs as pre-WWII nations were about accepting refugees (I’ll let you find a history teacher to connect the dots), how in the world are the DTs—Displaced Teachers, like my parents were DPs (Displaced Persons) after WWII—going to get placed?


Will all the Probationary teachers from the middle schools and Jordon get moved involuntarily to the Mont? Oh, wait… there aren’t a whole lot of Probes left, eh? There was that pink rain last year, remember? Do more teachers get RIFfed? How will that solve the problem? Will teachers get lured into the dark Caddy in front of the school yard with a candy bar shaped like merit pay? Just come to the Mont and fill the gaps, eh?


Of course, that kind of hinges upon getting the SIG grant, like looking for that 4-leafed clover.


I thought it was also a nice touch to parade new teachers through the Mont yesterday on a tour of the campus. Pretty much, it was akin to the new tenants coming to inspect their prospective digs while the current tenants are attempting to conduct their lives. In our cases, attempting to teach kids. Class, that what this process has been about from the very beginning, eh? Tell me, we’re we on display, too? Come see the losers in their native habitat before they are extinct! Hurry on down, before you miss your chance to see them at the Mont Zoo.


Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the growing discontent on campus? The numbers keep fluctuating, but I keep running into more and more teachers who reapplied, were accepted, who seem to be telling folks they are not coming back. Where will they go? How will they get over McKenna’s Wall?


How should I know? I’m the one who believes in chivalry and fair play, who is trying to understand how a computer is still working on my transfer request put in mid-February and how I will not be informed for at least another week because the computer will be finished by then…


A lot of folks don’t understand how I can think in terms of chivalry and honesty and fair play. A lot can’t understand a handshake kind of guy like me. I suppose they can think of me as naïve, as unrealistic, as childish, as someone who can be taken advantage of by someone who wants to get ahead. That much is true. I do let people get in front of me on the freeway—only to be flipped off. I do try to help the homeless—and see someone buying beer instead of food. I did buy a letterman’s jacket for a student—to find out he spent the money on weed. I did pay for a student’s pictures, etc.—only to have to cut him off when I realized I’d given him a couple of hundred dollars and that I was the sucker he was taking advantage of; even recall the hurt look in his eyes when I cut him off without yelling at him or even telling him why or demanding my money be returned. And I’ve even had a couple of coworkers take my lessons and try to palm them off to the administration as their own. I still let anyone have the lessons who asks.


Maybe I won’t win that race others seem to be in. But I’d rather live in my kind of a world than the one the Mont will become.


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    Chuck Olynyk is a Social Studies teacher who saw the effects of reconstitution upon John C. Fremont High in Los Angeles. These are reposting of his original blogs from the Save Fremont website.


    August 2010



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