It is TRUE, History Does Repeat Itself

Yes, History repeats itself and I am providing proof, actually an EXAMPLE, in this BLOG Post which is a good way to honor, acknowledge and respect Election Day. This is not a political statement in any way just a Serious, not too Silly, Story from my Civil Community of Common Commentary.

In May 1977 I graduated college and obtained my teaching certificate as well.

Two days after graduation I accepted a six week substitute teaching assignment in an inner city urban high risk neighborhood. In fact it was the same neighborhood where my Dad and his family lived, worked and went to school. When my Dad and his brothers attended this high school it had an excellent reputation for academics, attendance, athletics and all the other good things schools offered two generations ago.

Since my car was in the shop Dad took me to my first day of work at his former school. When he turned the corner to enter the parking lot he sighed with an, “oh my, look at what has happened to my school”. It had been 35 years since Dad was in the neighborhood and much had changed with the school building and parking lot all in dis-repair, unpaved streets approaching the school and abandoned row houses in need of everything. Dad told me it was always a rough rugged neighborhood but was disappointed to see his old neighborhood in such a blighted condition.

Dad went off to work as I entered the building searching for the school office. I found the office with ease being directed by a security guard. Once in the office I introduced myself and stated my purpose for being there to the secretary. I was given an attendance book which listed all the kids I would be teaching each class period of the day. Nothing else. Prior to the kids arriving to class I managed to scrounge some worksheets and pencils from other teachers just to get me through the day. During lunch I went to the office and asked for books, paper and supplies and was told there was some old books but for paper and supplies I was on my own.

The school day consisted of most all the kids arriving for homeroom and first period. By third period which was around 10:30 AM the population greatly reduced to single digit numbers from the class roster of between 20 -25 student per class. Once the kids ate, played with their mid-morning snack/ lunch or had food fights with the raisins there was not much reason for them to hang around in class. Off they went to destinations unbeknownst to me. The afternoon classes were occupied by one or two students at the most. Later I found out for many of the kids the mid-day snack might be the only food they eat for the day.

When the bell rang ending the last period of the day I gathered my “stuff”. By the way, I went to the school where I did my student teaching and knowing my mentor quite well professionally asked for paper and supplies which were graciously given to me. I had enough to make it until the last day of school. Actually I did not need much since there were not many kids in class.

At the office and prior to leaving for the day I had to turn in the attendance book to the secretary, who was responsible for maintaining such records which, I did. As I was exiting the school office I heard a “young man, can I see you for a minute”. I obliged and was asked what is this that I am handing in to her. I said it is the attendance book for each class for this day. She said, no it is not. You are wrong. I asked what she meant by telling me I am wrong? She told me that all the kids were in all the classes all day. I told her they were not and my attendance records indicated who was present and who was absent. She told me I was inaccurate with my reporting attendance and that I had to change the records to reflect her request of having every kid attend every class all day.

I told her that just last week I graduated college and earned my teaching certificate as well and I would not put myself and my earned documents in jeopardy. She told me I must comply or else. I asked or else what? She said. “You’ll see”. Just then a woman appeared from an office marked Principal. I asked if she were the principal and was told yes she is. I asked the secretary, who was telling me what to do, if I could speak with the principal. The secretary told me no but that she, the secretary, would tell the principal about this situation. The principal came to me and told me she respected my position and that the attendance would be changed and I should not be concerned with the matter. I asked about subsequent days attendance and the principal told me it will be taken care of but not by you (me). I asked if she wanted me to come back to teach for the remainder of the school year. She told me, “hell yeah”. Do you know how hard it is to get people to come here to teach? I finished the remained of my commitment and left teaching for about 25 years.

Let’s move to 2016.

We were staying at hotel for the purpose of attending a family wedding. I am eating breakfast with my family at one of the hotel that serves a full hot and cold breakfast when you are a guest at their hotels. This breakfast business and marketing plan is absolute genius. It is second only the the marvels of the WWE formerly The WWF. Just brilliant in concept, theory and implementation.

Before this innovation and when traveling with our kids we would have to search for  breakfast in unfamiliar territory and hope for the best which it usually was. Breakfast and coffee shop places are soooooo gooooooooooood. No computers, cell phones, GPS and YELP!!!

Back to breakfast. While the kids were making their own waffles and my wife was occupied visiting family I began a conversation with a young man more than half my age. He was there for a wedding but with a different family than ours.

With such an age difference it was difficult to find topics to discuss beyond breakfast, the weddings and weather. He told me he was living near the town where I was born and raised. He continued by telling me he worked in a school in a rough neighborhood. One thing lead to another and behold, he is working in the same school district about which I just wrote and you just read.

I told him the story you just read. He was somewhat aghast, bewildered and shocked to hear my historical tale. He could not believe that what I experienced over 40 years ago he was doing in the here and now. He was teaching as part of program to earn college credits. He had one year to go and he was Out of There.

History does repeat itself but in this case at what price and at what cost. As always and quite tragically it is the kids who suffer and struggle the most and so on and so on and skooby-dooby do on.


Keep It Simple – Keep It Real

This BLOG Post is the best EXAMPLE of the line above.






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