Chapters 4 and 5 Going Deep and Research Shows
“Okay, Ladies. Listen up. We’ve got a whole new offence this year and there are a number of plays we’ve got to learn.” Coach Johnson almost sounded enthusiastic.
“You mean, Coach, we got more than the three plays we ran last year?” asked Scottie.
“Scottie, you know we had more than three plays last year.”
“In the playbook, maybe, Coach. But I only remember running three: First down run up the middle , for two yards. Second down run off tackle for one yard. Third down punt. Unless you’re counting the big double reverse trick play for a loss of ten.” he paused. “If we didn’t fumble.”
Coach Johnson stared Scottie quiet. Then he looked up at the hills that surrounded the playing field. Scottie got the message and shut up. For the time being.
“We’ve got a whole new set of passing patterns that the receivers are going to have to learn.” That news was greeted with chorus of ‘yeah right’, ‘dream on’ and ‘whatever’. Someone even said “Don’t be a TQ, Coach.” Not knowing what that meant, Coach ignored it. The skepticism was merited. The Bengals’ passing attack was pretty much non-existent.
“I hope none of the patterns go for more than five yards.” said Steve, taking over from Scottie. “Cooper can’t throw any farther than that.”
“That’s not true!” last year’s starting quarterback defended himself.
“Focus, Ladies, focus.” pleaded Coach.
“I had a 75% completion rate.” Cooper continued.
“You can’t count interceptions,” said Scottie, who decided he had been quiet enough.
“Enough! Cooper, Doornedorp, Mitchell. Five hills each. The rest of you, here are the new patterns you have to learn.” He took out a white board and started to draw arrows going across and up and down. It was all pretty basic stuff that they should already have learnt. But the feeling had been why bother learning things that they are never going to use. They felt the same way about math and French. So hapless was the offence that few passing plays ever went off as planned. First off, the linemen had to block well enough for the quarterback to have time to find his receiver and throw the ball. Usually, as Cooper looked down field, the next thing he saw was blades of grass after a Knight or an Eagle defensive tackle had driven him into the ground. If he managed to stay on his feet long enough to get rid of the ball, he would whip it with all his force at the head of the receiver. He wasn’t what you would call cool headed. Having a projectile rocketing toward your head usually turns on all the prehistoric survival instincts handed down from our cave dwelling ancestors. Bengal receivers were known more for their ability to duck and dodge and bat balls away. They weren’t known for their ability to actually catch them. A typically passing play involved the receiver ducking and an unsuspecting defensive player getting hit by the ball. The better ones had the reflexes to intercept the ball. The best passing play last year (in terms of yards gained and laughter created) came when Cooper threw the ball at Herman, an exchange student from Germany who had never played football before. Actually he hadn’t played our football before, but he had played a lot of their football. With the ball rocketing toward his head, he could think of nothing else to do but head the ball back soccer style. Skates had just picked himself off the ground when the ball landed in his hands. After the initial shock of suddenly becoming a receiver wore off, Skates raced down the field for a good forty yards. His career as a receiver ended when he tripped on the ten-yard line.
“In inter mural action today the Green Machine is playing Team Awesome. Oh yeah, I forgot, they’re playing ultimate frisbee.”
“Class, be please quiet and listen to the announcements” Ryan tried to be louder than the noise of 30 kids all talking at once.”
“The New World Club is meeting in the library at lunch. They’re discussing next month’s We are the Asteroid Day.”
“If you’re not quiet, I’m going to make you all stay at the end of the period.” Ryan knew there was no point in making a threat if you weren’t going to see it through. But he hoped he wouldn’t have to. The class appeared unmoved by this tact. There was one or two exceptions, though.
“Why do I have to stay? I’m not doing nothing” said Purity from the back of the room. She continued to text a friend while complaining. Ryan fought the urge to say something about if she wasn’t doing nothing, she must be doing something. But there was no point.
“Would the following report to Student Services after the announcements: Tammy Snider, Lucas Sampson and the entire Van der Saar family. And would the following go the the main office immediately: Newmoon Hickey and Montana Brooks.”
“Did they say I’m supposed to go to the office or Student Service?”
“What’s your name?”
“Montana Snider. Honestly, sir. You don’t know my name.”
“I think they said the main office.” Ryan had stopped listening to the announcements some time last year.
“She wasn’t called at all.” said a boy at the front named Chesford. “They called Montana Brooks who’s in grade eleven. He’s a boy. Montana’s a boy’s name.”
“And today in the cafeteria whole wheat quesadillas and oven baked sweet potato fries. Please stand for the national anthem.”
“Hat’s off and be quiet.” Strangely, the class obeyed and reluctantly fell silent.
Why was this year going to be different? Coach Travis Kidd didn’t come alone. When he transfered from Chevalier he brought his star quarterback with him. Lane Oakwood had been raised to be a quarterback. His dad, Duane, had been a quarterback too, though not a very good one. His son was going to be one too, but better than Duane had been. He had had Lane start school a year late so he would be that much older and bigger than the other kids when he was in high school. Lane was taught to throw a spiral when he was three, the footwork of dropping back into the pocket when he was four, the pump fake when he was five. He could spell the names of pass patterns before he could spell his own name. Summers were spent at quarterback camp in places like Ohio, Oklahoma and Florida. By the time he hit Chevalier he could react to any defence the opposing team showed. When there wasn’t an open receiver-and that wasn’t often-he could tuck the ball under his arm and run. He was the leading rusher on any team he played as well as the leading passer in any league. If he could have figured out how to throw a ball to himself, he would have probably been the leading receiver too. As it was, he was credited with throwing and receiving a touchdown pass. In one game against the Bengals the previous year, he had a ball batted down by a lineman. Before it hit the ground, he caught it and ran in for a touchdown. Somehow doing it against L.B.S.S. made it seem less spectacular.
When Coach Kidd accepted the job at L.B.S.S. he knew Lane had to come with him if he was going to have any chance at turning the Bengal program around. The problem with that was the school league was pretty strict about athletes changing schools. There were only two reasons that were acceptable. Being recruited wasn’t one of them. You had to have moved into the area of the new school. Duane Oakwood wasn’t going to sell his house on Twelve-Mile Lake. He wasn’t sure about Lane changing schools anyway. As much as he respected Coach Kidd’s opinion, it just didn’t seem to make much sense. But Coach Kidd had argued that there wasn’t anything left to accomplish at Chevalier. On the other hand, being the leader of a program which turned itself around 360 degrees would cement his reputation as a go-to guy. As good as he was, getting a scholarship at a top American college was not going to be easy. He needed something extra.
Ryan was going to need to something extra. He had set aside the curriculum and was going to teach his grade nines about the environment. If things went well, they would all be environmentalists by the end of the period.
“Okay, class. Today we are going to watch a movie, The Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore.”
“We’re watching a movie? Is there popcorn?” asked Purity, putting her books away.
“No there’s no popcorn.” Ryan continued “Does anyone know who Al Gore is? Brooklyn!” He got no reaction. She was too busy. “Brooklyn! Ms. Bridges! please put your cell phone away.”
“It’s not a cell phone. It’s a new Nintendo Ice.”
“I don’t care what it is. Put it away or I’ll take it away.”
“You can’t do that.” said Manson, who saw himself as the class expert on students’ rights. “The School Board policy on hand held game systems clearly says that a letter must be sent home before any confiscation is allowed. I’ll sue.”
“Would you shut up, Manson! You can’t sue anybody. It’s not your Nintendo Ice.” said Nevaeh who often took the teacher’s side at times like these. She continued “Al Gore is the guy on the Viagra ads.”
“Ooh, that’s sick.” said Jimi. Ryan wasn’t sure if sick was a good thing or not.
“No, Al Gore is a former American Vice-President who is now a spokesperson for climate change.”
“Does that mean he’s in favour of climate change?”
“I think global warming is cool.” said Kimothy “I can’t wait to be able to go to the beach in January.”
Ryan took a deep breath. Then he tried to clarify things. “We don’t call it global warming any more. It’s more complicated than that. The world isn’t simply getting warmer. The climate is becoming more agitated. We are experiencing more violent storms. Like Katrina.”
“That’s my stupid sister’s name.”
Ignoring the comment, Ryan continued. “If it were to get so warm that we could go to the beach in January we still couldn’t because the beach wouldn’t be there. Franklin, stop playing with the gas valve.”
“I don’t understand. Why isn’t the beach going to be there? Where’s it going?” asked Nevaeh.
“Good question. Let’s watch the movie and see if we can find the answer.” Ryan moved toward the television and reached for the play button on the DVD player. His fingers were almost there when Manson asked: “Don’t you know the answer? Aren’t you a qualified science teacher?”
“Yes, I am a qualified science teacher. I have a BSc in environmental studies.” Ryan shouldn’t have had to defend himself to a fourteen year old. Ignoring Manson would have been the best strategy.
“Is that a real science? Aren’t things like biology and chemistry real sciences? My dad says the environmental studies is for people who can’t do real sciences. He should know; he’s got a Master’s in astrology. When do we start learning something useful?”
“This is useful.” retorted Neveah. “Manson, you’re such a TQ!”
“She can’t call me that! I’m going to sue.”
Ryan took another deep breath. Don’t take the bait he told himself. “I do know the answer to that question. This is about what you know. So let’s watch the movie and see if it answers the question.”
“What question?” asked Kimothy, who looked up from doing her nails.
“Can I go to the bathroom?” asked Jimi
“May I” corrected Neveah.
“I asked first.” argued Jimi
“No, I don”t need to go. I was correcting you. Can I go to the bathroom means Am I capable of going to the bathroom. You were asking permission to go. That’s may I”
“Let’s watch the movie, shall we?” Ryan turned on the DVD.
“So can I go?”
“Go, go, please go.”
The only way to make Lane a Bengal was to find an academic reason to change schools. If Kidd could find a program or even a single course that Lord Byron offered that Chevalier didn’t, then he could justify the transfer. He pored over the course booklets of both schools. It was pretty hard finding anything original at L.B.S.S. But eventually he found an advanced level modern dance course. Chevalier didn’t have any dance courses at all. The former dance studio had been converted into a weight room years ago.
It took some arm twisting to get Lane into the course. The teacher, Irma Cassis, saw herself as the next Isadora Duncan minus the scarf. She took dance seriously. But she was only teaching dance until her own career took off. The fact that her career wasn’t likely to take off any time soon escaped her totally. But why was this jock without the proper prerequisite trying to get into her elite class? These were girls who had been taking dance since before kindergarten.
Kidd put forward a good argument. There were many parallels between the position of quarterback and the art of the dance. Timing, rhythm and footwork were all necessary elements of both. One could argue, he said, and he did actually use the word one, that her girls were the greatest athletes in the school. Lane could really learn a lot from them.
She bought. She allowed Lane into the class without the necessary prerequisite. With that the league allowed the transfer. What did Lane think about being in the class. He didn’t know a thing about it. Coach Kidd would tell him later. There was no point in bothering him with academic details. After all the class wasn’t till next semester. By then the football season would be over. Who knows? Lane, being a fifth year student, already had most of the credits he needed. Would he even still be at L.B.S.S. come January?
The film played for a few minutes. Al Gore was reaching a crescendo of outrage and smugness. The island nation of Comoros and its capital Moroni were sinking into a sea of irony and pathos when:
“Please excuse this interruption: Would Alexi Underwood, Nicole Forest, Arby Harris and Anita Hiro please report to Student Services. And would Mr. Unterhaching please return to his classroom.
“Now is as good a time as any to pause and discuss the film.” Ryan took advantage of the interruption to initiate a discussion. “Can anyone tell me answer the question why we can’t go to the beach in January?”
“Cause this is Canada, duh!” said Jimi.
“He doesn’t mean now. He means with global warming. Weren’t you watching the movie?” said Nevaeh. “We can’t go to the beach because the beach isn’t going to be there.” Nevaeh loved being right even if she was just giving back the same thing the teacher had already said.
“My dad says this whole global warming thing is a bunch of left-wing loony junk.” said Purity now playing with her cell phone.
“But why is the beach not going to be there?” Ryan plodded on. “Think about the Comoros.”
“My dad says this film is full of scientific errors. Anyway what does a guy who sells viagra know about science?” said Purity, who was back on Brooklyn’s Nintendo Ice.
“Not who, what. The islands in the movie. They were disappearing.”
“Like magic? Cool!”
“No, not magic and definitely not cool. They’re disappearing under the water. And where do you think the water is coming from?”
“My dad says you’re not allowed to show this film without showing the other side.” continued Purity.
“The sea is rising because of global warming.” said Nevaeh.
“Yes, and why is global warming causing the sea to rise?” Now Ryan was getting somewhere
“Because the ice is melting.” said Jimi, surprising even himself.
“Would Jolene and Winston Campbell report to the front of the school, your mother is here to take you to your appointment.”
Ryan took another deep breath. “What ice is melting?”
“My dad says I’m to tell him if any of this pinko stuff is shown in class.”
Ryan couldn’t take it any more. “Good, Purity. Thank you very much for your participation. Why don’t you take out your cell phone and call your dad right now. Is he at work now? Tell me what does he do? And why does he seem to know so much about climate change?”
“He’s the pastor of the Church of the Universal God.”
“Not a scientist, then?”
“No, but he is always right about things. Anyway he knows already what’s going on. I’ve been texting him everything you said.”
“Good. Then tell him that the people who oppose fighting climate change are dinosaurs living in the past, clinging to old beliefs. They’re ostriches with their heads in the sand.”
“Are they dinosaurs or ostriches?” asked Manson not wanting to be helpful.
“Maybe they’re dino-ostriches.” said Jimi, being even less helpful.
“Yeah, they’ve got the head of an ostrich and the body of a dinosaur.”
Ryan continued without acknowledging the two clowns, “People who take a stand against climate change don’t have any real science behind them. All the pretend scientists who are against climate change are frauds and dupes of the petroleum industry.”
“Aren’t you against climate change?” asked Manson “Does that mean you’re a pretend scientist? See I told you environmental studies wasn’t a real science.”
“I meant people who are against fighting climate change.”
“That’s not what you said.” Manson said.
“How do we know they have the head of an ostrich?” Brooklyn only started paying attention the middle. “I mean, if they’ve got it buried in the sand.”
“Listen. The petroleum industry pays for people called lobbyists who try to influence the government to do what they want. They also pay for shoddy research that muddles the issue and allows people who hate change to hang on to the belief that there’s no problem, that the Earth will be fine without us changing the way we live. They make it seem like the scientific community is divided on the issue when in fact they are almost entirely on the side of the environmental movement.”
“Can you slow down, sir? I can’t text so fast.” asked Purity.
“The longer we wait before we start doing something, the harder it will be. The ice caps are melting. The rain forest is on fire. The atmosphere is full of toxic chemicals. We don’t have time to debate unimportant things. We need to act.”
“What can we do?” asked Nevaeh.
“We can think globally and act locally.” said Ryan feeling he was getting somewhere.
“What does that even mean?” asked Manson. Ryan wasn’t sure how he meant the question. Was he seriously taking part in the discussion or was he still sabotaging things?
“It means that while being aware that its a universal issue, we need to do things locally that will help the environment. The road to a cleaner planet is made up of small steps. It means we shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the size and scale of the problem. We shouldn’t say to ourselves that we can’t do anything. We can all do something. We can recycle. We can use fewer resources. We can ask ourselves ‘do I really need that thing? before we buy it.”
“Should we like do something at school?” asked Nevaeh.
“Do you mean like starting an environmental club?” asked Ryan with new found enthusiasm.
“I can’t go. I got football.” said Jimi
“Don’t be stupid.” said Nevaeh. “He hasn’t even said when.”
“Would there be food there?” asked Brooklyn.
“Can we get extra credit for this?” asked Manson
“What’s extra credit?” asked Brooklyn
“I dunno. But they’re always asking for extra credit on TV.”
“It’s American. We don’t do extra credit in Canada. Can we get back to talking about the environmental group?”
“I can’t go. I got football” said Jimi
“Thank you, Jimi. You said that already. Who can come?”
“You didn’t say when.” said Manson.
“How about tomorrow at lunch?”
“Can’t I got…” started Jimi
“Football, yes, we know. How about you Manson? And you Nevaeh?”
“I’d like to but I gotta study for French.” said Manson
“Sorry, orthodontist appointment. I gotta get braces.” said Nevaeh
“Young Christians for Christ are meeting then.” said Purity “My dad’s the guest speaker. Would you like to come Mr. Ryan?” Before Ryan could answer the bell rang.
“Is there any homework?” asked Brooklyn.
“Why do you care? You never do it?” asked Manson.
“Exactly, see tomorrow Mr Ryan. Please don’t forget the popcorn next time you show a movie.”
“Research shows that students are most successful when…” started Vice Principal Doyle. It was a rare occasion when a member of the school’s Admin Team found himself in the staff room. It was even a rarer moment when Principal Bunny was in the school. But the staff and students at Lord Byron Secondary School in the Granite District School Board didn’t seem to mind or even notice. In his absence he had tasked Vice Principal Doyle with the creation of a committee to promote metacognition. Vice Principal Doyle wasn’t quite sure what metacognition was.
“Sorry what?” Perkins said removing his Ipod headphones from his ears. He was listening to the Boston Pops version of Carmen while he was marking a set of grade ten lab reports.
Doyle continued: “Students are most successful when…”
Roberts said to Rickards: “D’ya see the game last night?”
“D’ya mean the so-called battle of Ontario? I’d call it a comedy of errors” said Rickards to Roberts. The reference to Shakespeare was purely accidental.
“Not a great defensive struggle between two disciplined squads intent on stymieing the potent offensive of their opponent?” answered Roberts
“The Leafs and Senators? No, more like two groups of losers who couldn’t hit the net to save their lives.”
‘If students are allowed to express themselves fully taking into concern metacognition then…”
“Mega con what ?”
“Is that like chili con carne?”
“Megacognition; learning about learning, as opposed to learning for learning and learning through learning”
“I’m lost. What’s the difference?” Perkins asked thinking he should have left the headphones in his ears.
“It’s really simple, really.” Doyle continued, warming up now that he thought he had their attention.
“Students learn about how they learn. Not what they learn, or why they learn, but how.”
“Not why, how. Well let me explain to you in terms of coaching.” Doyle had been a phys ed teacher before getting into Admin.
“You don’t explain to the player how to throw the ball; you teach him about the ball, why he should throw the ball; how the ball feels about being thrown, things like that”
“How should the ball feel about being thrown?”
“How would you feel?”
“So how does he learn to throw the ball?”
“It doesn’t matter whether he can throw the ball or not. What is important is understanding the why. How doesn’t matter.”
“But you just said why doesn’t matter, how does.”
“So if you play a team that doesn’t know why but knows how, who wins?”
“That’s the beauty of it. Winning doesn’t matter. It’s not the only thing; it’s not everything; it just isn’t anything.”
“Why would a kid want to play?”
“To understand why he wants to play.”
“How can you relate this to education?”
“That’s the beauty of it” the VP continued. “The student doesn’t actually have to do any work at all. He just needs to understand why he would want to do work. It’s easier for him; it’s easier for the teacher and the parents are always happy, the Board and the Ministry are happy. It’s perfect. No one in my office complaining about Jones or Smith, no students failing; no teachers burning out.”
“Who’s in your office complaining about me?”
“Teachers burn out because of all the stupid ideas that Admin forces on us.”
‘D’ya see the breakaway in the second period?’ asked Roberts.
‘Prstic’s in the second period? When he deeked left then right and had Hoplininin stretched out on the ice without a chance in hell of stopping a beach ball.” replied Rickards who had stopped even pretending to mark.
“Hoplininin never has a chance of stopping a beach ball”
“Yeah that’s it. Totally open net. My grandmother coulda scored.”
“Then he trips on the blue ice and the puck trickles into the corner.”
“Typical of their season”
“What a bunch of losers! Who pays to watch these guys?”
“Isn’t it Metacognition? You called it Megacognition.’ If there’s Megacognition, would there also be Gigacognition?” sometimes Perkins was a bit of a jerk.
‘Yeah what would that be?’
‘Learning about learning but in a much bigger way.’
‘How much bigger?’
‘Will you two shut up!’ said a frustrated Doyle.
‘Shut up? Shut up? Show a little respect for your elders, young man. In my day no V.P. would ever tell a teacher to shut up.’
“Yeah but in your day, students wouldn’t tell a teacher to shut up.”
“That’s not true. I remember Pat Dunn. Oh what a foul mouth. Told a number of teachers to shut up, fuck off and even told Barovsky to suck her dick?”
The new guy Ryan piped in ‘Suck her dick?’
‘Yeah, failed biology I guess. To say nothing about sex ed’
‘Okay I’m sorry I said what I said, but you guys need to take Megacognition..
‘I said Metacognition, You need to take it seriously” Vice Principal Doyle didn’t appreciate their sense of humour.
‘Hey, I just looked it up on Idefinitions. It isn’t so much learning about learning as thinking about thinking’
“It’s the science of thinking. You know, how the brain works.”
“No it’s not that, it’s being conscious of our thinking process.”
“Yes, now you’re taking it seriously. Go on” Doyle was beside himself with enthusiasm
“Who thought this stuff up?”
“Research from the Colorado Institute of Learning shows that students perform better when we don’t expect anything of them.”
“You mean if you lower the bar low enough, everyone passes.”
“Yes, that’s it: everyone passes. That’s are goal isn’t?”
‘Yeah what a couple of totally useless hockey teams. That big stupid defenseman is especially tits on a bull”
“Which one?” asked Rickards, who wished he had got more sleep last night. But with a baby at home that wasn’t likely.
“You know, Havelock.” added Roberts “Tries to clear his zone, puts the puck into his own bench, hits his own coach in the head.”
“Yeah and gets two minutes for delay of game and the coach has to go for stitches.”
“I remember back in my day.” Mrs. Templeton changed conversations. “They only had one goalie and he didn’t wear a mask. If he took a puck to the head, the whole game stopped while they stitched him up.”
“How old are you?” asked Doyle who was barely over thirty.
“None of your business, young man!” Mrs Templeton, who could have retired years ago, didn’t offend easily. But these young Admin Team members were hard to take. They ought to at least be shaving before they’re put in charge. “I don’t ask you how long you taught before you became a vice principal, do I? But I imagine it wasn’t more than five years, was it?”
“Then on the power play, those idiots can’t manage a shot on net. They get paid for that, imagine” Roberts probably enjoyed watching bad hockey more than the good stuff.
“So if I understand correctly we are going to ask students to think about their thinking.”
“How will we know that they are thinking about their thinking and not about the girl two rows over?”
“Yeah they are teenagers. Can we even use teenager and thinking in the same sentence?”
“Yeah, my dog has a longer attention span than a teenager and he’s been dead for years.”
“I had three very successful years in the classroom before moving to the board office.”
“Learning Centre. They’re not calling it the board office any more.”
“Yeah, I heard a rumour -I think it was Jenkins who told me-that they’re going to spend 3 million on improvements to the board office.”
“Yeah, 3 million on the board office and we don’t have a second gym or enough lockers for every kid.”
“So Jenkins says they changed the name to Learning Centre so that the public would think they were actually spending on students.” The Granite District School Board was good at spending money. But from the perspective of the teachers at Lord Byron Secondary School it didn’t show. The school was old and in need of repair. The chemical storage room was positively unsafe. The French department used textbooks from the 80’s. And the computers were donations from industries that didn’t want them anymore. But LBSS was in a forgotten corner of the Board, far enough away from Granite City that the Board easily forgot about it.
“I thought Jenkins was dead.” remarked Ryan.
“No that’s Burns. Jenkins runs an antique store over in Sloat’s Corners. But he still keeps up with school board gossip.”
“Anyway, after moving to the Learning Centre I had four successful years as Obesity Consultant for the Board.”
“Obesity Consultant. I helped schools get rid of their fat kids.”
“Isn’t that the same as the Fat Boy Consultant?”
“It’s not called the Fat Boy Consultant.”
“That’s what Perkins calls it.”
“What d’you do? Kick the fat kids out of school? Shoot ‘em?
“No, don’t be stupid. I helped schools build programs for kids who needed to lose weight.”
“Is that a full time job?”
Gates Tanker, the phys ed head, had proposed something she called the Obesity Consultant. The Board had loved it but decided to give it to a young teacher with only three years experience, but someone they were grooming for Admin.
“Then two years as Character Consultant.”
“Shouldn’t Character education be done by the parents?”
“Do you really want some of our parents to be responsible for bringing up their kids?”
“Isn’t that the idea?”
“How come the Board has money for a Fat Boy Consultant but not a science one?”
“The Board always has money for the latest half baked idea. Like the time they put dogs in every Guidance Department in the county. They thought the dogs were less judgemental than the guidance councillors.”
“And they gave better advice.”
“Where’s the 3 million coming from?”
“Jenkins didn’t know. But that didn’t stop him from speculating.”
“He figures it’s coming out of the regular building maintenance fund. So the bathroom on the second floor isn’t going to get fixed any time soon.”
“Yeah but not fixing one bathroom isn’t going to pay for a 3 million dollar renovation.”
“No but if you don’t fix all the bathrooms in all the schools all over the board that need fixing, and you don’t shovel the snow after every little storm and you don’t replace lost books and you don’t… well you get the picture.”
“Why don’t they just take it out of the French grant like they normally do?”
“Can’t do that. They spent that money a long time ago.”
“On the previous director’s golden parachute. She got two years’ salary, her car and they covered her costs for her and her husband to go to two “conventions” in Bermuda and Arizona.” He made the quotation marks with his fingers. “They were in a hurry to get rid of her.”
“I wish they were in a hurry to get rid of me.”
“They are. But don’t hold your breath waiting for a golden parachute.”
“Did you see the end of the game?”
“Are you kidding? I couldn’t take it anymore. Marked for an hour and a half and then went to bed. Didn’t sleep though. Amy wouldn’t stop crying.
“Well it went down to a shootout. Neither team could score until the eighth round; Havelock, of all people bears down on Hoplininin. Hoplininin tries to poke check the puck just as Havelock loses the handle. Hoplininin slides into Havelock; they both go down. Both are injured and have to be stretchered off.”
“Did they have to use the backup goalie?”
“No. With both of them lying on the ice, Havelock’s non-shot trickled into the net. Leafs won.”
“So anyway. The reason I came up to this staffroom is I’m putting together a little work team to look at the role of mega- I mean metacognition in the classroom. Is anyone interested?”
“I don’t know”
“It involves missing a lot of school.”
“When do we start?”