Tuesday, October 23, 2012

# 20 You Can't Catch Me

    I don't know about you, but every time I have walked in on people having sex it's always a bit uncomfortable. Even a polite apology and maybe some giggles from both sides doesn't bring complete relief to the embarrassment. Now, consider walking in when the heat is intense and being expected to stop the hormones, haul the offenders out of their embrace, and escort them to a sterile office for lectures, reports and phone calls home.

    I have countless stories about catching students engaged in various sexual acts and a few about staff too. There is no substitute for being at the scene of the crime. Here are three from my life as member of the sex police:

   I am in my second year, doing a long term contract, and I'm traveling to the basement to deliver some papers to another teacher. I walk down a flight to the first landing, oblivious to the crime in progress. I swing around the corner and come face to face with two kids doing it doggie style, she is grasping the top step, jeans down to her ankles, he is standing, jeans down below his cheeks. They are in the middle of the risky rebellion. Our bodies freeze, all six eyes lock, our mouths drop, and suddenly, the mood changes.   It seems like a few minutes to me, but it is really just a couple of seconds.

   My immediate reaction is to apologize, turn away, and I do. I actually turn around and walk back up two steps, stop, and realize, "I am suppose to do something here."  I blurt out, "Hey you, get out of there!" (brilliant eh!) By the time I turned around to confront the young offenders, they are dressed, on the bottom step, heading for the doors. I yell, "Hey, come back here!" Guess what they did?

   So, I feel it my responsibility to report the incident to the chosen authorities, and head directly to a vice- principal's office. Avoiding eye contact, he listens to my hard evidence while pretending to shuffle papers on his desk. Then he says, "Do you know them?" I think, "What a ridiculous question, of course I don't, it's a big school, I don't teach them and probably can't pick them out."  He tells me he will "take it from here", (a sign that I am off the hook!) I Thank God! At least someone experiences some relief in this situation! For the duration of my contract, I never see them again, but I am sure they see me everyday.

   The second time I am in my fourth year, and have been working the same school for a year.  It's 4:30 and I'm still at the school marking. I start a walk down the hall to the carpenter's shop looking to borrow a hammer when I pass a stairwell. I glance through the wired glass door and see four legs protruding out from under the stair case. Two petite running shoes pointed up, in a V shape, rumpled jeans at the ankles, and two running shoes pointing down, jeans just above the shoes. A-HA! I figure out what is going on within seconds! I figure, I will need to catch them in the act. So, I like any great detective, I quickly turn around, run down the hall, out the next exit to the parking lot. Then, I run up the side of the building to the exit which is the scene of the crime.  The whole trip takes me, maybe thirty seconds. However, by the time I get there to make the arrest, they are done, clothes back on, sitting, enjoying a smoke. The most I can do is kick them out for smoking in the school.

    I use to put reams of notes on the board for every class, then I went to stacks of overheads for students to copy into their notebooks. Finally, I switch from having the kids do lots of silly busy work to the novel idea of getting them to think. I write a word, phrase or sentence on the board and then step away so the students can jot it down. Then, in an effort to stimulate the brain cells, I initiate discussion.  Often I will do a routine where I step to the window side of the room, glance out, turn around, stand at the wall and teach. This one time, I get over to the window, glance out, and there, in between the shrubs, are two kids doing it missionary style. It's fall, they are fully clothed and jeans are down to their ankles.

   I guess my sudden change in expression tells a story because a kid says, 'Sir, what's out there?" and he cranes up out of his desk like a periscope looking for enemy ships.  Before I can say, "Nothing, sit down."  He says out loud, "Holy shit, they're doing it in the bushes!" The whole class, mostly boys is over to the window fixated like kids in front of an X-box after school. I bang on the windows to get the offenders attention. They look embarrassed and slither off, heads down, adjusting their clothes. I know both of them. Then I spend a minute or two getting the class back into their seats. The air is saturated with snickers, gasps, and whispers. The rest of the class time is just crowd control for me, nothing can match that kind of performance. I think, "This will be dinner hour fodder in a lot of houses tonight for sure!"

    I call the VP at the end of class, submit the names, file a report after school.  The kids are suspended and told to return only with their parents in tow. The girl comes in the next day with her mother, the boy never shows.

   Kids are outfitted with all of the bells and whistles that come with an adolescent body and mind. They can feel invincible, guided by the little brain, and be fearless risk takers, consequently, they need supervision! In spite of the fact we are not trained in any of the required skills, teachers are responsible for almost all of the policing that takes place in the school.

   I haven't caught any kids engaged in blatant primal crimes in years. Now that I think of it, I haven't even seen much pushing of the envelope in the halls either. When I do, it doesn't bother me much. A direct and firm "Enough!" usually ends it, at least until I turn the corner.