Your Local High School, part 6

What drew my attention to this particular class room was the portrait sized picture of Che Guevara. It was placed in the spot where The Queen would have gone, if we had all lived in that horrible place, the Canada of the Vimy-Ridge Canadians.

A few weeks later, as in last Thursday, there was much sadness associated with this room where Che was almost worshiped. The instructor, close to retirement, had cashed in his sick days and had called in sick for the rest of the school year. When his sick days ran out, he would be retired. His students, who loved him, were crushed. This made me curious, so I dug a little deeper.

Comrade teacher Smith left no signs on his desk that he had been planning Wednesday to be his last day of working and first day of retirement. On his desk was his daily planner, but he had no plans, or thoughts, or notes entered after Thursday. It was all blank. His marking was in three neat folders in a neat pile on the left side of his desk. There was a row of the textbooks he used for instruction, and a stack of works of fiction.

Comrade teacher Smith was popular with his fellow teachers. There were no issues outstanding with the administration. Infact, Comrade Smith was a model teacher. None of his students failed, which minimized problems for everybody. No angry parents, no concerned social workers, and no prying youth parole officers.

Teaching methods. Comrade Smith did not seem to record attendance. A survey of his attendance records show a series of crisp, unwritten upon, pieces of paper. None of his students have ever been absent, or late, apparently. Which, of course, means that Comrade Smith does not have to edge into the capitalist, oppressive world of disciplining students for attendance.

Comrade Smith did not seem to follow the course outline, either. If you actually bother to did up the course guidelines for the courses he taught, and compared them to the extant course material (assignments, tests, quizzes, essays, reading material), there is a surprising amount of difference. Simply enough, Comrade Smith was not teaching the same course that he described in his course outline (dated only last year; and sent to the board of education for critique). This explains the eclectic selection of novels and works of fiction found in his class. Which, of course, means that Comrade Smith does not have to edge into the capitalist, oppressive world of following a curriculum.

The Vice-Principal is sad. They would have given Smith a farewell party at the end of term. They are personal friends, the VP and Smith. Smith is selling his house in Toronto and moving to his horse farm in Northumberland County. On Saturday, he is flying to Cuba for a month of fun in the sun. The VP, who plays poker with Smith as one of the regulars, will have to find someone to replace him.

How ever will society replace such as Comrade teacher Smith? This man is not easily replaced. For decades he has taught (what he taught we do not know, as what he taught is not what he was supposed to be teaching), for decades he was a light to his students (assuming that the ten years of ‘never a student absent or late for any of my classes’ is true), and he was a comfort to administration (because the failures did not fail).

Our Lesson is to be more like Comrade teacher Smith. Do not create confrontation with others, instead appease them. Attendance and course requirements are but the chains of fascism. It is more important to tell people what to think than to teach them to think independently. And, read and understand your union agreement, so you know to the day when to bail out and ship yourself off to sunny Cuba.

I, Fenris Badwulf, wrote this.

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