WE’LL MEET AGAIN!
Begin forwarded message:
From: ALAN SKEOCH <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: Pond storyDate: December 15, 2021 at 6:43:09 PM ESTTo: Alan Skeoch <email@example.com>
This is Woody. His half sister, Failla, keeps an eye on him.
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: ALAN SKEOCH <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: Fwd: EPISODE 486 BRUNCH AT THE KING EDWARD HOTEL WITH THREE PIGEONSDate: December 5, 2021 at 4:18:35 PM ESTTo: Alan Skeoch <email@example.com>
EPISODE 486 BRUNCH AT THE KING EDWARD HOTEL WITH THREE PIGEONSalan skeochDec. 5,2021
Life goes on in spite of the Covid 19 epidemic. But things are notquite the same for humans. Pigeons, however, carry on unchanged.
Let’s not dwell on the bad times in which we are now living. Nice things can happen. Our daughter in law, Julie and our son Andrew
EPISODE 486 PETS; DAISY AND SONNY…
EPISODE 485 WALKING ON EGG SHELLS (THE state of teaching today)alan skeochDec. 3, 2021
Teaching today is like walking on egg shells. A slight slip. An innocent well meant slip can ruin a career. Today I was
Surprised and pleased to receive a note from Jean Graham whose Grandson Logan found this story on the internet. It was written 25 years ago when I was head
Alan Skeoch, about 25 years ago…conducting a Jane Jacobs walk into history
The hall was empty…or nearly so. I was late for class. A boy came around the corner. My oh my, did he look forlorn. Teachers notice these things. Body language…facial expression…shuffling…troubled. That kind of thing.“Things can’t be all that bad, son. Cheer up.”And I tapped him on the shoulder with an envelope I was carrying.No reaction. Just a blank, maybe slightly hostile stare. Maybe even a bit of a surprised look since we did not know each other. No time for much more dialogue. I was paid to teach and the class was waiting.Sounds like a non event. Wish that were so.Ron Graham, our Vice Principal and a good friend, came to see me right after the class.“Boy, I saved your ass, Al! Took the whole period to do so.”“What?” I thought Ron had a joke in mind for his comment made no sense.“I spent the last 45 minutes cooling Larry down.”“Who is Larry?”“Didn’t think you knew him because he certainly did not know you. He burst into my office claiming you hit him in the hall. Wanted to know your name so he could report you to the super-intendant. Perhaps even the police.”“Get off it Ron. Who is Larry?”“You may not know him now but you would certainly have known himif he had laid the charge. Assault.”“Ron, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Some kind of joke?”“Nope. Serious, Al. Really serious.”“Who is Larry?”“Larry is a new kid here. Troubled kid. Unhappy home life. I guess you would call him a loner. He does not trust teachers or the world in general for that matter.”“What has that got to do with me? Don’t know the kid.”“OK. Did you meet a kid in the hall before class?”“OH, that kid! Yes, met him…seemed depressed. Tried to cheer him up.”“Did you hit him?”“Come on, Ron. Do you think I’m stupid? I tapped him good naturedly with an envelope. This envelope. ” (The envelope was an invitation to speak to a University Women’s club about teaching if you can imagine.)“So you did touch him.”“Hardly a touch, Ron.”“Enough for him. He did not know you. Thought you had no right to even speak to him.”“Get off it, Ron.”“Any witnesses?”“No, we were alone in the hall.” Now I was getting worried. Alone in the hall meant it was my word against this student, this person called Larry. That spelled trouble. Teachers walk on egg shells, especially male teachers.“So what did he say?”“He said some weird teacher with a brush cut and a blue suit jacket hit him in the hall near Room 225, your room…your haircut…your jacket.And your hand it seems.”“So?”“So, suppose Larry laid a charge with the super-intendant and it got down to the Toronto School Board. First thing that would happen is you would be hauled out of class…told to leave the school and not return until the case was investigated. Many people would believe you are guilty of assault. You even admitted touching Larry with that envelope. Touching and assault can become synonyms. So you would be out of her on your ass. Doesn’t matter that you have taught here for twenty years and have a great reputation.”“Do you mean I would be considered Guilty until proven innocent.”“Right. OSSTF would provide a lawyer. The case could take a year or so and all that time you’d sitting at home. People would wonder why. Some would assume you are guilty. Even when the case was rejected, as it would be, you would have that stigma forever.”“You’re scaring me, Ron.”“Don’t worry, I got you off.”“How?”“I asked Larry to sit down so we could have a chat…to cool him down.”“And?”“Larry,” I said, “Mr. Skeoch and I come from different generation. From friendlier times. We try to treat people in a friendly manner. We have different values you might say. Your hat, for instance. In my time, students removed their hats in the presence of teachers. Larry then took off his baseball cap so I knew I was getting through to him. Larry, I continued, I think you are making a mistake. Mr. Skeoch has never hita student in my time. And he has never sent a student to me for discipline reasons. Never. I went on and on. Made you sound like a prince of the church. Finally asked Larry if he would consider withdrawing the charge. And he did. Saved your bacon, Al. You owe me big time.”“Phew!”“By the way, I have enrolled Larry in your Grade 12 history class for next semester,” said Ron with a mischievous grin.Larry turned out to be a really nice student. He got to like me. Greeted me in the hall often. He became cheerful. Not sure whether he punched me on the shoulder saying “Morning, sir!”. I like to think that happened. I also wondered what could have happened had Larry not withdrawn the charge. I really did owe Ron Graham a beer.
I taught at Parkdale Collegiatte Institute for 31years. Never missed a day for sick leave. Loved the job. But this incident was never far from my mind which is a sad thing to say. Walking on egg shells….trying to teach at the same time. How much social distancing is necessary? At what point does the distance become so great that the
joy of teaching ceases?