| "Gladly Wolde He Lerne" |
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Affiliations:||Kranz Elementary School|
Ted Collins was an assistant superintendent for education, planning and research in his late 20s when his ambitions lead him to enroll in night school to learn what he needed to know in order to advance in the educational bureaucracy. His first course was with Professor Vance who did not believe in wasting time. As soon as she verified her microphone was working, she launched into her first lecture. Afterwards, Collins wondered what possessed him to try to become a school principal and whether he should drop the whole thing.
However, he persevered and ended up acing the course. He took the other courses he needed, one or two at a time and at night. He went through an internship program at an actual junior high school and then the state required examination for certification. He passed and went for an interview. The interview committee left him hanging for two weeks and then informed him that they accepted him as principal for Kranz Elementary School.
He found the work challenging as he had hoped it would be. Budgeting for one school was much more complicated and precise than for a district wide program where money could be shuffled between a dozen different accounts. He also needed to deal with the faculty and over time developed techniques to build rapport. Finally, he came into contact with pupils for the first time. Dealing with them made handling staff seem simple but he learned how.
He also got on with life. He married a curriculum specialist from his old board offices. He took up golf and eventually shot in the mid-80s. He grew a mustache which eventually became salt and pepper. He also began to feel that the job of principle, although satisfying, wasn't enough. He talked it over with his wife and decided to reach for the top.
He enrolled in more night school. When he came to the first class, he saw that most were like himself; solid men and women who had built up solid careers but wanted something more. There were also a few in their early thirties, the wiz kids on the fast track. Collins was no wiz kid but a grinder. It had worked in the past, hopefully it would continue to work.
Dr. de la Vega entered and congratulated them for just being there and wanting to be the best. His mild smile then turned savage as he announced that he wondered how many of them he could run out in the next twenty weeks. It was tough, the toughest Collins ever had it. Nothing was watered down, if you couldn't keep up too bad. He eventually passed with a high B and he was as proud of it as most of his previous A's.
The whole program turned out to be that way. Collins lived on four hours sleep a night and coffee. He became conscious of the tremendous responsibility that came at the top of the hierarchy. He had to look hard at himself to find out if he wanted it. He decided he did.
Before he could take the final exams, he had to convince an interview board he was worthy. The exams themselves made the ones for principle look like a pop quiz. When he learned he had passed, his school gave him a party. He also got his picture in the local paper.
More interviews but he could pick and choose since there were always more jobs than qualified people. He finally settled on one in a top-notch school near where he lived. He couldn't sleep the night before he started. He entered the enameled door with the tarnished brass seven on it. "Good morning class" he said. "Good morning teacher" the class chorused in reply.
Teacher. He felt ready to burst with pride. After so long and so much hard work he had finally reached the pinnacle of his profession.