Sunday, June 24, 2012

"I'll Show You Extra!"

I loved the security staff at Leuzinger. They put kids on high alert. They took no nonsense from students.

Sugar Bear was one of my favorite security personnel. A homespun man who had no problem shaking up students, he was a godsend. When I was covering one of the most disruptive science classes on campus, he came by every time I called for help. Even when one of the administrators pressed me for information when she noticed that the room was getting a number of calls, Sugar Bear told me not to worry. "These kids are going to give you a hard time because you're a sub, but you just stick with it, and everything will be all right!"

Once, I was trying to negotiate with a difficult young lady, one whom I believed would  be able to listen to reason, if she just gave me a little time to work with her. When Sugar Bear saw me making the  most of a tight situation, he complimented me, "You really know how to talk to people! That will really help you out here!"

He was a real help to me. He was an encouraging, exhortational soul, a kind person who kept my spirits up, an important element since I was facing some major challenges those first few days.

In part because of his nickname, in part because I had decided to take a tough stance with students. I  began to style myself like the bald prophet Elisha, who in Chapter Two of the Book of Second Kings, this prophet cursed a rebellious group of youth who mocked him for the lack of hair on his head. Within moments of pronouncing his curse, two she-bears bounded out of the wilderness and mauled all forty-two of the dissolute and disrespectful children. So, whenever students started to act up in class, I just said to myself "Time to call the bears," and security would show up and take the miscreants away.

It was a great setup for me. Most students learned not to cross me, as I had no problem calling for back-up to send an unruly student on his way out.

My favorite security staff was Ms. C. She was a tough piece of work, and many of the students did not like her, but she was a perfect fit for me. I loved it when she would drop by, when I could catch up with her about how she ran things at the school. Like the other security staff, she was a stickler for decorum, and she had no problem confiscating hats as needed.

Once, when I was covering a World History class in the main building, Ms. C. strode down the hallway. When she spied a few students near the door of the classroom who were still where their baseball caps. Snatching them up one by one, she had each miscreant write down all their pertinent information.

"Man, she's got X-ray vision!" one of the students remarked.

Mishearing the student, Ms. C. sharply responded, "I'll show you extra!" She then quickly leaned in and beckoned for the young man to leave the room briefly.

I started cracking up. She took my line, I was thinking. I show these kids extra! That's my job!

I was still laughing about it the next day, when I say Ms. C. watching guard over the faculty parking lot. I told her how she made me laugh out loud when she told that kid "I'll show you extra!"

From that day on, every time I saw Ms. C., I would say, "So, what are we going to do if the kids give us a hard time today?"

"We'll show 'em Extra!"

And for the rest of the year, I had very few problems with students.

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