Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 6: Old Thurmer, Observation, Prep

"Even the couple of nice teachers on the faculty, they were phonies, too," I said.  "There was this one old guy, Mr. Spencer.  His wife was always giving you hot chocolate and all that stuff, and there were really pretty nice.  But you should've seen him when the headmaster, old Thurmer, came in the history class and sat down in the back of the room.  He was always coming in and sitting down in the back of the room for about a half an hour.  He was supposed to be incognito or something.  After a while, he'd be sitting back there and then he'd start interrupting what old Spencer was saying to crack a lot of corny jokes.  Old Spencer'd practically kill himself chuckling and smiling and all, like Old Thurmer was a goddam prince or something."

Yes, Mr. Spencer, Holden's history teacher, has to be observed by Old Thurmer, Pencey Prep's headmaster.  Spencer has to pretend he's not nervous or annoyed.  Thurmer is his boss.  He could stand up in front of the classroom and attempt to fart Handel's Messiah, and Spencer would have to give him a standing ovation.

I'm going to be observed tomorrow in my classroom.  By a professor to whom I've never met or spoken with.  The extent or our communication has been a couple of e-mails.  He told me not to be nervous, that it really wasn't a big deal.  Funny thing is, it feels like a big deal to me.

That's my worry this Wednesday.  Someone is coming into my classroom to assess my teaching.  I've done as much as I can to prep for tomorrow afternoon.  I've got two lesson plans.  I've got backups to those two lesson plans.  I've got backups to the backups.  My whole goal is to not look like an idiot.  That's it.  I don't expect to be Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society.  I don't expect to be anything but . . .  mediocre to competent.

Saint Marty can live with mediocre.  He'd be thrilled with competent.

Hopefully, I'll be at my mediocre best tomorrow

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