tagRomanceRob and Carol

Rob and Carol

byDinsmore©

Why in the world had he taken a job teaching at this shitty high school? Oh that's right, his unit had been called up for Iraq; he'd come home eight months later and he didn't have a job any more. His fucked up former employer had used some legal loop hole to, "eliminate his former position". He'd talked to the JAG officer; he wasn't in a union or a non-exempt, he was classified as management. Shit out of luck. There was nothing they could or would do. Everyone thought that employers had to hold a job for a service member called back to active duty and sent off to a combat zone but many were using gaps in the laws to fuck folks like him in the military.

Let's see, what other good shit had happened while he was in that fucked up cesspool of a country with those fucking sand rats trying to blow his ass up night and day? He'd had to sell his nice car; he couldn't afford it anymore on military pay. His rent controlled apartment, which he wasn't allowed to sublet? Gone. His girl friend, correction, fiancée? The absolute love of his life? She'd dumped him and moved, leaving no forwarding address. She'd also cleaned out their joint account, stolen most of his furniture and fucked up his credit rating by running up his credit card. The only part of that little bitch he would miss would be...well, her cunt...and of course her mouth...and she did love it up the butt. Semper Fi, mother-fucker, Semper fuckin' Fi.

Fortunately his dad had gotten in touch with him and told him what was going on in time for him to take her name off of the other accounts or cancel them. He'd saved a little money in Iraq in an account that she couldn't get access to. He still had a little in his 401K and some stocks that she couldn't get her grimy little hands on.

He paid off the damn credit card and after several letters back and forth, seemed to have gotten his credit rating back on track. He'd taken this crappy job because he needed to have some cash flow. Let's see, the previous year he'd made over eighty-grand. In the military, that had quickly dropped to around forty; he was doing just slightly worse than that as a teacher.

Decent jobs were damned hard to find in this depressed part of the Midwestern rust belt. He had to thank his mom who had been a school teacher for over forty years for demanding that he get a teacher's certificate along with his business degree. It had been a pain in the ass carrying a double major. His student teaching in a broken down urban school like this one had convinced him he never wanted to set foot in the public school system again. Still, dear old mom had been right. You could always find a teaching job.

He'd registered with the county's school administration on a Monday and provided them with his credentials. He had to go through a finger printing and a criminal back ground check. In spite of their inefficiency, thanks to the computer age, they'd cleared him to teach by the end of business on Wednesday. He had six calls to come in for interviews by noon on Thursday. Teachers got sick, took early retirement or just got fed up and quit. He was certified in secondary education and had the course requirements to teach math and science. With an MBA concentrated in accounting he could also have taught business, which was pretty much a complete joke in a public high school.

The schools that contacted him were so desperate they would have let him teach anything and legally could have done so, at least through the end of the year. Hell, half the teachers they had weren't course qualified and a quarter weren't even certified. Why had he picked this one?

The principal was an absolute bitch but she seemed to run a pretty tight ship. The assistant administrator who would be over him, a large and rather imposing woman who was, he was sure, unquestionably gay, had served in the Army as an MP. He soon learned that all of the other teachers were scared to death of her but he had hit it off with her on first meeting. Disciplinary problems were common at this school and a strong, no nonsense assistant administrator to back you up was essential.

The Instructional Lead teacher, Ms. Linder, Carol he seemed to recall, was really sharp, very candid about the problems the school faced and a hot, tall, no nonsense blond that made his dick twitch. With the door closed in her office, she had a nasty little mouth, with, "fucked up" being one of her favorite expressions. He'd been quite taken by her, even smitten, and he thought there was a hint of interest on her part. He'd seriously planned to work on getting in her pants but she quit three weeks after he started to take a job one county over in a far better school system. Rumor had it that she was also getting married. If he didn't find something better and had to teach for another year, he was already on the waiting list over in the other county.

Unofficially there was an opening expected due to a planned retirement in a nice suburban, middle class school with kids that wanted to learn and parents that gave a shit and were involved. His academic credentials were stellar; he had graduated from a top state university with honors and to his surprise, that county had a policy of giving veterans preference and veterans who had served in combat special preference. They paid a hell of a lot better, far above the state minimum and would also give him credit for his reserve and active duty military service toward pay increases and starting pay.

It wouldn't come close to what he had been making in the private sector. Forty-five for nine months work was the same as sixty for twelve months work. Even with the hours any good teacher spends before and after school in preparation and administration, it would be less than the hours he used to put in at his previous job. During the summer he might go back to school for another degree, teach summer school, take a construction job or whatever. He hadn't decided. If he decided to work over the summers he'd damned near be back where he was.

The only real problem was that he fucking hated it. He had to drag his ass out of bed every morning to come to this shit hole. His nights were spent grading half-completed homework and trying to put together decent lesson plans. By nine he'd finished off a six pack and fallen asleep on the couch in the crappy little apartment he was renting on a short term lease. It was the only thing he could find that didn't require a one year lease and he had no fucking intention of still living in this worthless town one day after the school year ended. He didn't really have any friends here. His friends from high school who had gone off to college never came back. The ones who had not gone away to school had stayed in the God forsaken town. The factory jobs they had depended on had dried up. Most were losers on welfare...or worse.

His sex life...he had none, other than his left hand...he'd never figured out how to jerk of with his right hand. He'd had nightmares in Iraq about losing his left hand and never being able to beat off again. There were a couple of young teachers that were certainly doable but there weren't a lot of opportunities to strike up a friendship during the school day and most people ran for the exits as soon as the final bell sounded. No teacher in his right mind fucked around with students and even in that department there were only two he saw in a six period day that made his dick rise.

There was one, a really bright and absolutely stunning senior that he certainly planned to keep track of...maybe look her up down the road. She was one of the few in this school going on to college. She had a scholarship and was going to a damned fine school miles from this dump. She was nineteen and he was twenty-eight...not completely out of reason.

The apartment complex he lived in attracted mostly transients due to its month to month lease. He was pretty sure there were entire small families living in the same sort of two room dumps like the one he occupied. A couple of little hotties in town to open up some new chain fitness center gave him the eye one night. He was just about to invite them upstairs for a drink when he saw them kissing as they got out of their car. He'd gone out with an old friend who he'd known from high school and met a pretty hot little blond in a bar one night, but she wanted more than a one night fuck fest, so he passed.

So why had he picked this school? The hard nosed principal, the tough no bullshit assistant administrator, the really neat and damned cute IL teacher who was now long gone and the fact that this school actually needed someone to teach Math and Science.

Thanks to the departed IL, he also had one plum, one decent class to teach each day. After early mornings breaking up fights in the gym, lunch duty breaking up fights in the cafeteria, one "free" period which was never really free since he had work sheets to copy or students to meet with or hall duty or whatever, combined with five mind numbing periods during which maintaining a modicum of order was job one, he had his last period of the day.

They'd tried to take it away from him. That cunt principal had tried to take it away from him.

"They're really bright, they'll do fine with a teacher who is not as qualified, but you have a knack for dealing with the hard cases and..."

He was one of the few teachers that knew how to control a classroom full of these little bastards; another teacher had been assaulted and quit and they wanted to replace his favorite class...his only decent class...with a high school special ed class full of felons with severe problems. Hell, there were felons in most of his classes, but the one they wanted him to take was all felons and most of them involved a weapon.

"No. I'll take one of those felon classes for you, but it has to be one of my others that you take away from me. Seventh period is the only thing that gets me to come back here each morning. If you're really set on it, I'll resign right here and now. I accepted this position over other opportunities in the county partly as a result of being able to teach that class. I also believed you were the most competent principal I interviewed with and I love my assistant principal to death. But seventh period is the carrot your departed IL offered me which made me decide to teach here. There's a month left in the school year; you can find some retired cop or former drill instructor to baby sit that group of sociopaths"

So he'd stroked her a little, but combat gives you that special look that says, I'm not bluffing, bitch. She knew he meant it.

"Are you going to be reapplying here for next year?"

"Not if I can help it."

"You're very good at this, Mr. Thompson. Kids that I honestly believed were incapable of learning are learning in your classes. Ms. Marble tells me she never has to handle any discipline problems for you. You give them that 1,000 yard stare---is that what you call it? Anyway, they behave for you. My little spies come forward and tell me you're the best damned teacher they've ever had...they can't wait to get to your class. This is a tough school; it's a school that needs good tough teachers---like you."

"Mrs. Stewart, I'm flattered; it's nice to know that I'm getting through to some of them. For the first six weeks I was challenged, energized, excited and terribly idealistic. Now I'm just tired and depressed and spending far too much of my paycheck on cheap beer. My military training is the only thing that gets my butt out of bed and in here each morning, plus I need the paycheck to buy more cheap beer. I don't even know if I want to stay in teaching but if I do, I want to teach, not maintain order."

"Sadly, I hear pretty much the same perspective all too often. You can keep your seventh period class. I'm going to have to hire a sub for the seventh period class I have a problem with. It's going to be across the hall from you. If you could stick your head in every now and again, it would be much appreciated."

"I'll be glad to help in any way I can...and, thank you."

"No, thank you, Mr. Thompson."

Two weeks before the end of the school year he got a call from the other school, the one in the next county wanting him to come in for a real interview. Baring a complete fuck up, he was in. The teacher in place had notified the school that he planned to retire. Rob had informed them that he had a full teaching schedule and couldn't come over during the day and that it was a good thirty minute drive. Not to worry, his situation was typical, so they would be conducting the interview process after school; just get his butt over there as soon as possible after school the following Monday.

That Monday as his seventh period was coming to a close it occurred to him that he would miss these kids.

"Are you coming back here next year, Mr. Thompson?"

"What do you care, Rachel, you're going to be off at Georgia Tech on a full scholarship probably cheering for your team to win the national championship and waving pom-poms?"

"Didn't you hear, Rachel? They're not going to offer this class next year. The class has already gotten too small for county standards and not enough juniors are interested in...or qualified for...an advanced, honors, college level math course. A lot of the other AP classes are going to be dropped, also." said Maria, another of his delightfully bright students.

He was sure it was more than rumor. Most of his classes had over thirty-five students; this one had twelve. There was only one other teacher who was even qualified to teach it, a delightfully irreverent Nigerian who had retired from the Navy and had a friggin' doctorate in math. The two men had become good friends, sharing their irreverence over lunch but he had hinted that he too needed to move on.

He would miss this class. They all had outrageously high SAT scores---particularly in math. They never goofed off or tried to get away with something. They all had first class minds and gave him hope that there actually would be bright people in leadership positions in the future. There were eight girls and four boys. Two of the boys were Asian, one was Indian and one was just a teacher's kid. Three of the eight girls were Asian, two were Pakistani and the other three, well, they were just terribly bright, amazingly mature, unreasonably long legged and devastatingly cute examples of good old fashioned, "marry and take home to meet your mother" Midwestern young womanhood.

Those three, well they certainly provided him with more than a couple of late night fantasies. If, heaven forbid, he should run into any of the three two years down the road...two years was actually written into the state law...He'd hit on them in a New York minute. Hell, he'd probably propose. And while he wouldn't think of flirting with a high school girl, he felt confident that under different circumstances, any of the three would have been interested.

"Okay, let's get back to work. No, I don't plan to be back here next year. I'm applying for another teaching job in another county. If it works out well, I may stay in teaching; if not, I don't know right now what I'll be doing."

A few minutes later as the class was deeply engrossed in what could only be called a near grad school level discussion of probability theory, sweet Rachel's eyes told him a visitor had slipped into the room. It was Mrs. Stewart, the principal.

Acknowledging her presence, he instructed the class to come to a conclusion and present it as soon as he got back and went out into the hall with Mrs. Stewart.

"I apologize for keeping you waiting; we get very engrossed in these discussions and I didn't even see you slip in."

"No apology required; I actually minored in math and remember enough to know that you've got those kids thinking way beyond a high school or even college freshman level. I don't want to take you away from them a minute longer than necessary. We discussed the fact that you're probably not coming back next year. You've probably heard that your AP math class is dead. In any event, I have spies everywhere...even in other counties. I know where you're going to be after school. I want to give you this. It's a letter of recommendation, a damned good one, if I do say so myself. I wrote it, but all of the assistant administrators also wanted to write addendums, which they did. We'll miss you here but where you're going, well, let's just say you'll be, I believe, happy. I hope you end up going home each day and drinking less cheap beer, but more than anything, I hope you get excited again and choose to stay in teaching. You're very, very good at this...please don't give it up. You were born to teach. Thank you. You need to go change before your interview; you're covered in chalk dust. Get out of here! I'll finish up your class...I'm dying to hear their conclusion!"

And to his complete shock, she gave him a hug. The old bitch gave him a hug. And he hugged her back.

Relieved to have a few extra minutes, he rushed to his shitty apartment to shave, give himself a quick wipe down and change into his best suit. He walked into the administrative office of what he hoped would be his new school just at four o'clock and introduced himself.

"Mr. Thompson, welcome to Hillcrest! I'm Becky, the school secretary---you made great time. Mr. Stanley will see you first, he's our principal; he's just finishing up with a parent conference and will be with you shortly. Please have a seat; there's coffee, soft drinks and water in the corner."

He watched people come and go; they were all smiling. They moved with purpose; they acknowledged each other. Before he had a chance to even look at his letter of recommendation, a man came out of any office guiding two parents, who were also smiling toward the door. It was if they were really good friends. He stood as the man turned, saw him, smiled and extended his hand.

"Greg Stanley! You must be Rob Thompson! Welcome! Come on back!

"Mr. Stanley, my pleasure."

"Please call me Greg; we're very informal here once the kids go home."

The office was warm, comfortable and friendly...and alien from where he had just come. Greg Stanley got right down to business as he indicated that Rob should sit on the sofa in front of his desk and joined him there.

"So, Rob, how'd you get into teaching?"

"Well, Greg, the short answer is, I needed a job."

And he then proceeded to give him the long version, to include his mom making him get a teacher's certificate and the loss of his job, apartment, car and fiancée while in Iraq. He told him about his current job; he told him about his AP math class. He told him that he had lost his enthusiasm. He wasn't negative or dour, he just didn't pull any punches.

"Greg, if you choose to hire me, I assure you I'll complete my contract but I can't guarantee you that I'll come back the following year. I enjoy the teaching part, I suppose in one form or another teaching is what I did in my private sector job---I was in sales--- and certainly an integral part of what I did in the military. But I can't go home every night feeling as if I didn't accomplish much, and other than my AP class and a few bright moments in which I knew I'd gotten through...well..."

"Rob, I've sat in this chair for almost fifteen years interviewing prospective teachers and I've heard every bull shit 'educationese' fairy tale answer you can imagine to the question of why someone became a teacher or why they want to be a teacher. Yours is without a doubt the most candid and brutally honest one I've ever listened to. I'm going to tell you something. First, thank you---you made my damned day! But more important, hell, you're well over the hump! Why do some of these young people that waltz in here become teachers? Well, for one thing they're naïve, idealistic simpletons who haven't got a clue what managing a classroom is all about. Second, they shunned the academic rigor of a real education and got a damned Ed degree---because we're so desperate for teachers in this country that we've watered down the curriculum. Third, they think it's going to be easy, you know, short hours, nine months work, a union to protect them and no real need to compete."

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byDinsmore© 13 comments/ 48972 views/ 21 favorites

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