Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Teachers Have Such Cushy Jobs

So. Today was my second day as a substitute teacher at this middle school in the Bronx where, if it works out, I'll be per diem until the end of the school year. I'm team-teaching with the literacy coach, who is showing me the ropes. And today I sprained the fingers on my right hand doing what it was drummed into me not to do during my training -- I got in the middle of a fight between two students.

Why did I do something so stupid? Well, because when I thought about the inevitable first time I would witness a classroom fight, I imagined it would be two guys pounding each other. I never dreamed it would be a hefty male student attacking a tiny girl, five feet tall at most, and about the size of a slender reed. He shoved her hard, then shoved her a second time, so hard she was knocked back several feet and smashed into the blackboard. Then, he screamed, "I'm gonna fucking break your neck!" and lunged for her again. I thought he was prepared to kill her. That's when I rushed forward to try to get between them, slipped, and fell to the floor. As I lay there, trying to get up, chart-paper easels went crashing down next to me, chairs and desks overturned around me, other students came running up to look. The air was filled with screams.

All this happened in what I'm sure was a minute at most, although it felt a lot longer. The other teacher had called for Security the moment it started. I should have done like her and stood away from the violence until they came. But I was terrified for the girl. I thought there was a good chance he could beat her into unconsciousness before anyone would be able to get to the room and stop him.

I had my hand x-rayed, and as far as they can see, no bones are broken; it's just a bad sprain. But it hurts like hell and I can barely move my fingers. I've reverted to hunt and peck to write this post.

So if you don't see a lot of blogging from me in the next couple of weeks, you will know why.


Katharine said...

Oh, Kathy, I'm glad it's just a sprain. You could have been seriously injured.

I completely understand the urge to stop the guy. How frightening!

Mustang Bobby said...

Been there, done that, but not with physical injuries.

Get well soon!