Monday, August 7, 2017

Roll Calling

I cautiously opened the front door of the classroom to avoid a falling eraser of the whiteboard in the classroom that would hit my head.

When I entered the classroom, the students were already engaged in animated conversations. They were laughing and chatting so hard that they did seem to notice me when I stood in front of them.

It was an elective class with 12 students. The serious three sat in the front rows. The rest of the students sat in the two rows in the back.

The students' noise was so loud that they would not be able to hear my voice even if I yelled. In fact, I had yelled before and had stopped doing that because it was silly. The students were sitting right in front of you.

The students' noise would come in alternating waves of high peaks and low peaks. A high peak lasted more than 30 seconds and a low peak did only a few seconds. I called the names of two or three students during the first low peak and waited for the second low peak. The three in the front row gave me a sympathetic look as I patiently waited.

Then, I saw the face of a young man I had never seen before. The course was already half into the term and it was not the time for a new student to join. He was not a new student. In fact, he was my student all right. He had answered when his name was called, had hidden behind other students, and had slept the next 90 minutes since the first class.

I said to myself, “That's it! I had enough!” I closed my roll book and told the students that I would quit. I walked to the president's office but he was not there. I walked to the teachers’ lounge and found the vice president. I told him that my job was to teach adults, not children. I left the roll book on his desk and left the vocational school.

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