Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Shop Teacher

We hired a new English teacher on a one year contract because we had one go on a year long maternity leave. Well, this woman we hired is totally and completely wonderful, awesome and amazing. And she just took a new job and is leaving us.

Our teaching staff is very close minded and conservative and sorta angry. I don't really have a bond with any teacher except with the one who is living. I'm very close to one of the secretaries but otherwise I'm pretty disjointed from the teaching staff. So I am REALLY going to miss the departing teacher.

I've been missing the Wild West lately, a lot. I've missed different things about the area and people, but I miss many of the people I taught with. My best Wild West friend was the Science teacher (she's since moved away, too) and we had a wonderful time in and out of work, even if we spend a lot of time kvetching about the students. I really liked our librarian, the Business teacher and the history teacher. Our home ex teacher was pretty nice, and I like several of the elementary school teachers. And I just adored our shop teacher. Even if he was an alcoholic.

Yes, the shop teacher was an alcoholic. He was this short, loud, dirty old man, actually. Never a dirty old man with the students, but he was with the adult females. I don't think he'd ever follow through with anything, but he liked to leer and talk. I liked him, anyway. He had great stories to tell- fictitious or real we never really knew- and he had a good sense of humor. He wasn't afraid to stand up to our boss, either.

On Wednesday nights we had "Fine art Meetings" and any teacher who wanted to attend was welcome, which involved eating dinner and drinking at the bar. I'm not sure how "art" it was but it sure was fine. He was a real hoot! If he had enough scotch in him, he would tell everyone to watch out because he was on hour 42 of his 36 hour Cialis.

He was a good shop teacher. He let the kids make anything they wanted and he made sure they were safe and knew how to use the equipment. Yes he was lose with rules and policies and well... everything, but the kids who came out of his classes could build a house if they had to. One girl made a solid cherry wood roll top desk for her father. Kids used the lathe and made bowls and other dishes. Seriously, he let the kids make anything, even if meant he was standing in the shop room with a cigarette dangling from his mouth showing them how to use a scroll saw..

He also had a HUGE heart. He would do anything for anyone. He made all the sets for our school plays and never charged the drama department anything. He made stuff for folks all over town, including kitchen cabinets. He let the kids make me a solid oak bookcase and then delivered it to my house. It's not his fault the kids stole the wood from the Catholic church construction project. It's his fault that when he learned they did that he didn't make them take it back... *ahem* He made shelves for my classroom and a cool wooden bowl for me. When my mom died and I ended up being gone for 2 weeks, he went to the Superintendent and told her I could have as many of his sick days as I needed so I could get paid for every day off I needed, whether it was two weeks or 2 months.

I think he liked me because I didn't judge him. I let him be and liked him and went to fine arts meetings most Wednesday. I didn't care that he was drunk by 7pm most nights and a few of those the bartender called me to help Shop Teacher home. He was a funny old guy, with a big heart, and some sad past life stuff. His wife was a sprite and she didn't take gruff from anyone- she was a hoot, too! I'd write his lesson plans for him each week because he didn't know how to turn on a computer and didn't even know the DOE had state shop standards. He'd write down what he was going to teach the kids that week and I'd type it up, so it looked all nice and formal. Oh, and he'd usually write a couple words on a block of wood, give it to a kid to give to me. That's his "rough" draft.

I'm missing him along with the rest of the Wild West, and I hope he's doing great and enjoying retirement!


1 comment:

Bragger said...

He sounds like an awesome guy. I would probably get along with him too. If you go back to the Wild West, I will definitely come visit you. Just sayin'...