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The Principal's Office

FIRST-PERSON

Posted: April 6, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: April 6, 2014 2:00 a.m.
 

When my teaching career of thirty-one years came to an end, I turned to writing, published two books of illustrated light verse and found myself once again back in school.

Not as a teacher, of course, but as an author who delighted in sharing his books with the children.

Wearing a different hat to school was a wonderful experience.

The children were thrilled with my books and I was having the time of my life. I still am. There's lots of laughter and lots of learning.

Living in Valencia, it was fairly easy for me to visit most, if not all of the Newhall and Saugus elementary schools and I loved every minute.

Just recently, while waiting to speak to a principal, I could see and hear that she was correcting a child who obviously had misbehaved.

As I watched the scene, it brought back a memory long forgotten:

It is 1964. I just received my teaching credential and I am hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

I'm hired but I have to go on interviews with principals to be placed at a particular school. I may choose from a fairly long list of schools.

My first choice is a little neighborhood school close to my home, Danube Avenue Elementary school in Granada Hills.

I have an appointment with the principal, Mr. White. I arrive wearing my best suit.

Mr. White is busy but after a short wait, his secretary tells me to go in.

I'm a bit nervous which strikes me odd because I'm already hired, my job is secure, it's just a matter of location.

As I walk into his office, Mr. White is seated behind his desk but he stands and extends his hand for a friendly handshake.

“Good morning, Mr. Myers, he says. "Thank you for coming. Please have a seat and tell me a bit about yourself."

I begin to sit but suddenly find myself laughing - laughing hysterically.

Tears run down my checks and I struggle to catch my breath. It's terrible and goes on for what seems forever.

Mr. White just stares in bewilderment.

When I am finally able to regain my composure, I apologize to Mr. White by saying: "I'm really sorry, Mr. White. I would indeed like to teach here at Danube.”

“The reason for my outburst is that it has just now occurred to me that this is the first time I have been in a principal's office without being in trouble.”

I got the job.

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