Archive | 2:57 pm

Which One’s the Referee?

7 May

One day in school I was standing outside my door waiting for the bell to ring when suddenly a fight broke out in the hallway. Two students, seemingly from out of nowhere, began slugging it out right in front of me. Without thinking I did what any good referee would have done and stepped into the middle of the clinch and separated the combatants with my arms. Thankfully the students in question were flyweights and not heavyweights or I’d probably still be there, crushed like a slice of sandwich meat between two hoagie rolls.

Anyway, I tossed one of the students into a row of lockers while I pushed the other up against my classroom door, holding him there while yelling for help. A teacher always has to yell for help in a situation like this because the other students in the hall will never offer any assistance whatsoever. Those who aren’t closing in to form  the traditional spectator ring are too busy microwaving their popcorn in the hopes of settling down into a nice long championship bought.

And if it’s two girls fighting? Forget about any chance of help…The cheering mob will become the very best Hollywood paparazzi with their cell phone cameras and iPods all a twitter in the hopes of catching an impromptu topless ingénue to tweet around the world…

But again I digress…for security soon arrived and the fighters were removed to their corners while the disappointed crowd broke up and went off to class. But my own students were in awe of me for the remainder of my class period as I was now the old man who still had “skills” and I must admit that it felt good to have stepped into a crisis and to have prevailed with the use of quick wits and brute force while helping to avoid a larger brawl. (And with no guns!)

And later that day the building principal came up to me to offer his approval, support and praise for a job well done. However, he then offered me a word of caution…

“Be careful out there, he said. Apparently you broke up a fight between two rival gang members and now they might be out to get you. Watch your back!”And with that he was off bounding down the hallway to no doubt spread cheer among another unsuspecting colleague.

One of the things that can make being a teacher difficult and exhausting these days is that sometimes doing the right thing can somehow be the wrong thing.

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