Standard Deviations

I went back to my old high school to see my old stats and programming teacher.  He was supervising a study hall on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when I came in.

What I meant to say was, thanks for putting up with my moody high school crap, for letting me hang out in your classroom when I really should have been in gym doing… um… actually I’m not entirely sure what one does in gym since I never went, for pretending you had no idea who built a dummy DOS with a fake reformatting option and left it running on other peoples’ machines, thanks for turning me on to frustration and ecstasy of programming, I never did much with my Pascal skills but it was excellent practice for life in China.

Somehow what came out was a mutual rant about school politics, the joys of students who learn something in your class, and frustrations of precious-snowflake parents. This is because an announcement was made over the PA that there would soon be a fire drill, and that all students were expected to leave quickly and quietly, and wait at designated areas until they returned to class. There was to be no stopping at lockers to get coats, although it’s a planned drill, in November in New Jersey, and no leaving school property, even though students will be sent halfway to their cars. There would be undefined Dire Consequences for rule-breakers. And students must not dawdle on the way back to shortened pre-holiday classes since that would cut into their academic time.  Long winded announcements, it seems, must just be part of the learning process.  Seriously, how can you talk about life-altering influences that made me want to teach English when you have such school admin stupidity in front of you?

We talked for a while, catching up, until the alarm went off. I thought that the incessant clanging would be a good cue to go, so we said goodbye and I made my way through straggling students towards my car. I was feeling like a new stage of my life was opening, since I’d just talked to a former teacher as an equal. And he said I’d grown up!

On my way out, one of the school security guards tried to prevent me leaving school grounds, and I had to explain that I was actually an unauthorized trespasser, and not a wayward student. Perhaps I’m not as mature as I’d hoped.

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