Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Weekly Bigwand Update
For those of you who joined at our last pledge drive and need a short update, My name is Anne. I lost my job of 20 years in 2004 and had to re-invent myself, so now I'm a brand-new, first-year school teacher.
This morning I was so exhausted that I looked out at my first period class and just about babbled. I couldn't form a sentence. But it was first period, and I was surrounded by 15-year-olds who had also been up until the wee hours (not grading papers, though). They babbled right back at me. Jolly good fun!
This Wednesday marks the end of Phase IB of my new teacher training classes. Again for those of you just arriving on the late train, Phase IB is the class I have to take that teaches me how to teach, while I'm already teaching and being thoroughly (and expertly) coached in my classroom. I must endure this punishment until June.
The punishment is significantly enhanced by the instructor, a pompous, self-satisfied retired teacher I've affectionately re-named Mr. Bigwand.
Awhile back, Mr. Bigwand noticed Puck, the faerie I wear to work on a cord around my neck. He asked me what Puck was, and I said it was a symbol of my Pagan path. He immediately assumed I was Wiccan. Not that it matters, but that's like assuming every Christian is Catholic.
Tonight, in a moment when he paused from his self-praise, he said to me, "So. What do you Wiccans do at Christmas?"
(Honestly, I do not make this stuff up. You've just got to take my word for it.)
I replied: "First, I'm not Wiccan. I'm Druid. And the better question would be, 'When are you Christians going to give us our holiday back?'"
Having already told us (three times) that he studied for the Anglican collar, Mr. Bigwand now had to prove his big, broad, flexible outlook, which he did by querying me about which of the O'Reilly-sanctioned holiday activities were actually "more ancient" in origin. I replied that the far shorter list would be those that aren't "more ancient" in origin. Which launched him into a mostly monologue about burning candles all night on the solstice. As he moved on to converse with the next victim, he proclaimed, "I love the opportunity to learn new things."
I'll have to take his word for that, because so far as I can see, the last new thing he learned was how to drive a car.
I don't know if it's bad news or good news, but I will be continuing classes with Mr. Bigwand after the aforementioned holidays. I really don't mind, because like H.L. Mencken, I'm mildly amused by loud morons ... and they make good copy.
Oh yeah ... Did I mention that I got the opportunity to evaluate him anonymously last week? He handed out forms, specifically told us not to put our names on them, and then -- after we had our say -- officiously shoved them in an envelope destined for the New Jersey Department of Education. But did he close the envelope? Oh heck no. I'm sure he didn't even wait to read those evals until he drove home. Funny thing was, I looked around me as I evaluated, and I saw fellow inmates scribbling away in high dudgeon. You just can't save everyone from themselves, so I returned to my own form.
My NJDOE anonymous evaluation of Mr. Bigwand? "Stellar teacher."
Machiavelli's lessons aren't lost on me.
P.S. - Sorry to mention the holiday. I promised I wouldn't. I just couldn't let this opportunity pass to hold up for inspection another boorish Bigwand comment.
"So, what do you Wiccans do at Christmas?"
Have at it, readers. Trust me. Mr. Bigwand is going to wander onto this site some day. Go ahead. Teach him something. He loves to learn new things.