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The Silent Majority
By Fred v Hall
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Rated "G" by the Author.
Thoughts and experiences throughout my teaching career .
The Silenced Majority
After spending a long hectic night correcting a large pile of papers, preparing two quizzes for next days classes in Global History and Sociology plus making sure my lesson plan was planned so as to be able to survive physically and mentally for the next day’s classes I would finally crawl into bed.
While the rest of society was asleep quietly in their beds I would be either typing away, preparing tests or correcting them. Along with that I would also be expected to read and mark essays that were not well written and hard to get through without yawning or almost falling asleep. I always hated it when I hit that black wall and felt I could not go any further in correcting another paper that was due to be passed back the next day. I felt like the way a runner does during a marathon when he/she hits that wall and has to draw upon from within to complete that race.
This pain was compounded not only by the lack of imagination in some cases but also by the school’s system failing students by not reinforcing handwriting skills or spelling. At the beginning of my career I taught at the elementary level ,grade five where I mastered the art myself of how to properly form my letters when I wrote anything. It was an art form I enjoyed passing along to my students.
Sometimes I would come across a student that thought outside the box and created something that was original, thought provoking and outstanding. This was like a mug of coffee for me for it would stimulate me enough to stay awake to finish the other papers that needed to be done.
It just seemed I was just getting to sleep when the sun broke through the blinds and brought an end to what little rest I had been getting. The rays of sunlight breaking through the blinds reminded me of the time I had been camping during the past summer. I began to feel the warmth of the suns rays on my face and could remember the solitude and deep silence that I had experienced when camping in the woods by myself at the time of my separation from my wife after twenty –eight years of marriage.
Soon this scene of serenity was broken by the sound of an annoying alarm. When I lived in the woods for two months the only thing that would wake me up in the morning would be the sound of birds or the movement of a squirrel in the woods. At night the loons would cry out around 11:00 pm and the coyotes would do the same around 12:00 ,O other nights when there was a bad storm I learned how to keep warm and how to keep a fire going despite the downpour of rain.
It took me several weeks to adjust to the strange noises that would occur throughout the night when I eventually got an apartment . I had to adjust to the noises of what appeared to be the noises of everyday life in what some would call a civilized society. It took me several weeks to adjust to the strange noises that would occur throughout the night. Often I would awake in fear and in a sweat. In fact it took me quite awhile to adjust to being on my own and learning new behaviours, which my former spouse had usually had done for me. I soon realized that if I was to survive I needed to develop certain skills very quickly. It was easier surviving in the wilderness than in society .
As the day was beginning to introduce itself. I wondered what kind of day was it going to be for me?
Most of the time if the student didn’t type his/her work I would have to spend much time trying to decipher what appeared to be the English language and if it was written in faded pencil it took even longer to figure out what the hell the student was trying to get across. Correcting not teaching was a chore I dreaded and most of the time it was left till I had quite a pile and students were knocking at my classroom door asking for their mark, which in many cases was well overdue.
Spending most of the night rolling and tossy was the norm for me. If I took a sleeping pill and had the time to take one so the effects of it didn’t linger the next day I usually had a great sleep. I would think over in my mind what was left to be done or think about the student who threatened me the other day? Would he cause problems for me the next day?
It wasn’t so much the positive events in my teaching career that kept me from sleeping throughout the night but those events that transpired that day that were disturbing to my emotionally that was keeping me awake. Finally I would fall asleep in exhaustion. What seemed like a few minutes every night was the extent of my rest? I would roll over in bed quietly to look at my alarm clock, which I did for 31 years every morning at the same time. The funny thing about it sometimes I never set it and awoke at the same time. It was as if I was a rat in a cage conditioned to awake at the same time every morning and to elicit the appropriate responses .
Religiously I crawled slowly out of bed, showered, shaved, and got dressed for school at the same time every morning. After pouring my first fix of what appeared to be coffee for the day I thought as I did often what was it all about, was I making a difference? Did I have time for those bacon and eggs? I now realize now why I was hooked on bacon and eggs for it was the memory of the sound of bacon and eggs on a frying pan cooking away while camping for several months with my Mother and Dad at Fundy National Park. There was something about that sound early in the morning which was part of the camping experience which I thought was truly enriching. The surrounding ambience along with the sounds of the forest and the smell of the bacon and eggs made me really feel alive.
Before I left to go for that short drive to work I brushed my teeth and looked into the mirror at greying hair and an ever-aging face. As I did this morning ritual I thought to himself as I had often done, was this going to be the day when a student would bring a gun to school? Quite a dramatic thought but it was there everyday i, travelling through my mind along with my lesson plans for the day before I entered my car to make that trip to work.
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