Friday was a tumultuous day in the DC Public Schools. 388 DCPS employees received pink slips, including 229 teachers. Hawk One, which was experiencing financial problems, went bankrupt Thursday night, leaving DCPS schools with no security guards during a tension-fraught day. Due to the sensitivity of the firings that took place all across the district, I will not go into too much detail.
But I am thankful for the day’s outcome for two reasons:
- First, I survived the RIF. I am still on the English faculty at my school. I will be there on Monday to serve my students’ needs.
- Second, despite the lack of a security presence and despite the fact that the administration desperately called an emergency meeting before school asking us to spend every free moment in the hallway so that we might collectively play the role that security played–signalling the direness of the situation–there were no major incidents involving students at my school (other schools, such as McKinley Tech, weren’t as lucky).
I don’t know what is going to happen. My school was one of the twelve schools that lost 5 or more teachers (fact: we lost much more than 5). I’ve never seen morale in an institution be so low. Classes will need to re-arranged (but one of our 4 counselors is on disability leave and another was fired, leaving us with two counselors responsible for re-scheduling over 700 students); teachers will need to sort out class loads, the administrators will need to restore trust and morale; security will need to be hired. Monday morning’s meeting will be an awkward one.
Despite the general turmoil of the day, I realize now that I overlooked one uncanny hallway encounter I had with one of my students.
Between periods 3 and 4, SW approached me and told me she had something to tell me. Upon saying this, she became reluctant saying “no Mr. K, I can’t say it.”
I didn’t have any clue what she was talking about. She then reiterated that she really couldn’t tell me what she was about to say. She said that she had talked with her father about it too and that he had told her not to talk about the issue with me. In other words, these were signs that I should prepare to find out something about her life that I probably did not want to know. I braced for the news. It came:
Looking down at her feet, SW said, “Mr. K, I have a crush on you.”
No sooner had those words come out of her mouth than she looked away and disappeared into the river of student bodies walking the hallways. I was left scratching my head, unsure of how to react. Clearly, I had been right to brace myself–but let’s just say I expected information of a totally different nature.