It was handled by the “powers that be” DOWNTOWN, and after a lot of hysterical sobbing, talking, more sobbing, perhaps a spanking and even more talking, I chose to take this lesson and use it to improve who I was as a person, a writer AND a teacher.
I see myself first and foremost as an educator, as this is what I have devoted most of my life to; but I am equally comfortable with the fact that I am a writer. Writing has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember, but actually sharing it with the world is still fairly new to me.
The administrator that handled my “case” did so with a firm hand, but all the while treated me with respect, intelligence and professionalism. He listened to what I had to say. He pointed out that I had to protect the identity of our schools, our children and our co-workers. Additionally, I was to remember that during the day I had a responsibility to the children entrusted to me, while at night I could (of course) continue to work on my writing and my blog; just no pictures, no names and complete anonymity.
I value my job, so I had to pay the piper. I did so with a smile and a renewed determination that this would only improve my work, and my writing. Frankly, I am sure it did. I was also encouraged to use this to mend some rifts with my principal that had been neglected. I can honestly say that fixing that particular issue has been a good, good thing.
But that is not the end of the story. Oh no it isn’t.
We have recently hired a new leader in our school district, and he came to town this summer with his young family- honored and excited to lead our large, well-respected school district. The members of our educational community were excited for this change, but didn’t envy his coming here at a tenuous time. It’s a tough gig, people. He’s where the buck stops, if you will.
He called me towards the end of the summer asking for a bit of advice for his presentation at the “first day of school” presentation he was preparing. I was shocked and honored that he would call ME. Sure, I write a well-received column (and thank GOD every day that they still let me do it) for the local paper, so I assumed that was how he got my name. When I first saw his name in my emails my heart stopped- I won’t kid you.
We had a great discussion, laughing and sharing stories about kindergarten children as he had a daughter entering that particular grade this year. He shared some great reading material, and I was impressed with his engaging personality and his obvious intelligence. (I guess the interview team got one right this time.)
I ran into him tonight at the Arboretum located on the grounds of the Smith and Wesson University here in town. They were holding a huge pumpkin “carve-off” and he was there with his children to judge the pumpkins. There were many, many people there and I was shocked when I ran smack into him! (Although, basically, that's what I do.)
We chatted happily about the year, some of his experiences, and about his children. He pointed to the kids laughing and admiring the pumpkins and told me their names.
The last one, an adorable rascal running circles around the others, turned and smiled.
“That’s Jack!” he said with a laugh. He turned to me and said under his breath, “He’s my Frank!”
He wished me well, smiled a genuine smile, waved and followed the kids down the path.
I couldn't move.
I picked my JAW UP FROM THE GROUND and shook my head. No. That’s not what he said. He didn’t say Frank, did he? FRANK?
I think he said, “He’s got a bank." Or, "He’s sometimes called Hank." Or, "He needs a spank!" Or maybe "Sometimes he smells rank.”
Cause I am pretty SURE he didn’t say Frank.
Oh my Lord.