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Just the other day I walked into class as the bell rang and my AP English teacher didn’t even glower at me. That was odd. So I sat down with my books and waited for class to begin, but it didn’t. Our teacher was frozen like a stone block statue in front of her desk. She just sighed and de-monocled her eyes and the class promptly asked her what was the matter.

“Oh, I was only thinking…” was all she said. Her face mirrored the emotions etched into her eyes. Her cheeks quivered into something of a smile and she spoke from somewhere far off.

“Mr. Mushnik took the lollipop.”

Apparently, our English teacher was having an important conversation with our new principal about getting some overhead projector so she can be more interactive with her classes. Such an item would prove invaluable to the learning environment of the classroom. But just then, a hall monitor aimlessly wandering the halls popped a yellow lollipop into his mouth from a colorful zip-locked bag and our principal hailed him for a watermelon flavored one.

“Oh yes, what were you saying Monica?” he said popping the pink lollipop into his puffy mouth. Our teacher didn’t tell us exactly what she did next, but I can only imagine the look of bewilderment upon her knowledgeable face. She must have excused herself and walked hurriedly down the hall where she would soon be out of sight around the bend.

As Mr. Mushnik smacks his pink-stained lips his caterpillar brows furrow curiously, the screws in his plump ears whirring to maximum capacity. But then the whirring stops and he bounds over to the nurse’s office to gloat over his new toy.

And so we are left in the current situation: Our teacher does not function. She is too steeped in the woeful future of Atlantic Preparatory to come back to the present and everyone takes advantage of it. Some take the time to finish work that is due today. Others are a bit more ambitious and start their homework early. But I just sit there and ponder right along with my teacher.

You can’t really blame Mr. Mushnik. He only acts like that because he cares…about something else. That is the leading joke of the faculty these days. He has the attention span of a four-year-old child and the appetite of a four ton gorilla. But that is honestly the best we can come up with these money-tight days. Yes, our academic rates are dropping, yes we are passing everyone to get them back up, and yes we are being led by man who “enjoys tying his shoelaces”, but we must remember we are doing the best we can with what we have. If the state needs us to cut back our spending so we can find the cheapest teachers to fill our classrooms then so be it. As long as you can keep your sanity and make the most of these hard times.

By the time our English teacher did come out of her reverie it was time to go. The bell rang and everyone burst out the door whooping and cheering with the enormous victory they had just won. I was the last to leave. Mrs. Carroway looked at the things she had planned for the day and sighed. I went over and dropped my sonnet off on her desk.

“I know you really wanted to read this, but didn’t have the time to search through your email.”

“Thank you Mark,” her eyes shimmered a little and she placed her withered hand on the paper. “I’ll read it tonight.”

I quietly walked out the door and looked back in. My teacher was reading with a new smile on her face.





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