Lawrencedale MI (TWP Press)
Teachers at Lawrencedale Public Schools were welcomed back to school with a celebration of all things legal, political, marsupial, and maniacal. Superintendent John Underwood began by explaining the school’s lack of money, facilitating no funds for retirement, extra-duty pay, and dry erase markers.
After these awesomely cordial opening points, Underwear went on to texplain that the school had reduced so many employees that there weren’t enough left to man an accreditation committee, so Lawrencedale would no longer have national accredidation.
Instead of pausing to acknowledge teachers who won awards, attended and presented workshops and conferences over the summer, finished their master’s degrees or became nationally-board certified or master teachers or in any way celebrating education and the daily work of teaching and learning, the welcoming comments continued with the introduction of Richard Coppley of Coppley, Coppley, and Hicks, who took off his seersucker Gregory Peck/Atticus Finch-wanna be blazer and updated teachers on new legal issues concerning education.
As the morning drug on with no bathroom or stretch or water breaks, Coppley delivered an 82-minute speech on the process of hypothetical court cases involving cocaine-sniffing teachers, drunk-driving teachers, and teachers committing other “acts of moral turpitude” and or just “being a crummy teacher.”
“One joint of marijuana, one doobie, is moral turpitude,” said Coppley to the teachers, who had not heard the word “doobie” used since a Foghat concert in 1982.
The teachers sat enthralled by the lawyer’s expertise, enabling them to create meaningful lesson plans, collaborate with one another on the curriculum, write welcome letters to parents, devise first-week activities, and enjoy the academic process of returning to a structured life of the mind with 100 or so students storming the doors.
More encouraging verbage included how the voucher program was killing public schools, how the separation of church and state was being bulldozed, and how FERPAs, 504s, IEPs, 911, C-Paps, photosynthesis, and 411 work. Then after a brief word from Superintendent Underling that included a rambling story about a dog in the outfield at a little league game, test scores, and the price of tuna, teachers were allowed to stand.
By noon, the teachers were so full of rules, laws, pessimism, putrefaction, and puke that they were, indeed, happy to be educators at Lawrencedale Public Schools, and pleased to be treated as un-thinking professionals who had not been cognizant of national education news and trends until Mr. Coppley opened his mouth before them only a few short hours prior in the never-to-be-retrieved past.
Waitress Tawny Cummings at the Train Wreck Bar and Grill in downtown Lawrencedale told TWP that the sale of Margaritas, Bloody Marys, and Jagermeister shots spiked at lunch that day.
In the afternoon, teachers were entertained by guest workshop presenter Betsy Pretzel, who taught almost 2 years before beginning her career as a dynamic, experienced teacher and professional development speaker. Pretzel’s topic was on something whose title had a double negative in it. Toothpicks, color-coded 4 x 6 index cards, and jokes about the teachers sitting on the back row were all introduced.
The bartender at Train Wreck, Matt (refused to give last name), told TWP that he was out of all his cheap gin and tequila before the dinner shift even began.
Welcome back, teachers!