Thursday, November 15, 2012

You Never Know: Hang In There

Words of Wisdom from Lesley's own Michael Pabian


The Day I Was Hired:

The Friday before Columbus day in 1972, I was pondering as I have every single day before and since what I should do with the rest of my life. A phone call at 7:00 A.M from the Superintendent's office beckoned me to the Northeaster Junior High School. The stern voice on the other end of my phone informed me that I would be the Shop teacher on that Friday, and, of course, these would be 9th grade classes of all boys.

When I arrived, I found the shop had been during an insurrection where the students had undertaken the task of nailing the shop teacher's shoes to the floor, while simultaneously testing the vice out by placing the heads of designated pseudo volunteers into the apparatus.

The principal informed me that all shop classes would need to meet outside. Hoping for the best and thinking on my feet, two prerequisite dispositions for teachers, I asked the gym teacher if I could borrow a football.

For six straight hours, with six different classes, I brokered teams, smothered fights, convinced players that tackle football is not fun on a schoolyard surface, and truly had the time of my life. I recorded countless TD passes, I caught some, I blocked, batted down errant tosses, covered, and organized all that chaos.


I did not know it at the time; however, the principal was looking up from a perpetual game of cribbage he conducted in the office and saw some of this from his window perch.
Although I had gone to school to become a history teacher, I found myself, that very evening, being offered a position as a remedial reading teacher at Southern Jr. High.

It was only after years of going over the long and short sounds of the vowels that I was able to start a history based conversation with some middle school kids.

1972-2005 RIP

(Michael Pabian is an instructor and PhD student at Lesley University)

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