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Teaching at Fallbrook High
My becoming a Computer Instructor at Fallbrook High was a bumpy road.
Jessica, who'd previously gone to parochial schools, was about to enroll at FUHS – and I said I'd have to get a job there to keep an eye on her.
Her reply, of course, was, "Don't you dare!"
However, a newspaper ad appeared saying a part-time instructor was needed for the school's Macintosh Lab.
Well, I'd used Macs before, but my experience was limited – and I'd never used any of the Mac-based programs that were to be taught in this particular class. But I applied for the job anyway.
I was told that the resident Macintosh teacher and technician, whom I'll call Mr. Davis, would be interviewing the applicants.
When my turn came, he was disappointed to hear about my limited Mac experience, but was somehow impressed with my enthusiasm for teaching, and my assurance that I could quickly adapt to the hardware and software that would be used. Much to my surprise, he hired me over two experienced Mac applicants.
Well, I got a key to the lab, and immediately began practicing on the Macs (6 different models) and the various programs on my own time. When it came time for my class to begin (an after-school session for near-failing students who needed to make up credits) I felt ready to handle it.
Things went well – but one night I got a call from a worried-sounding Mr. Davis asking if I could meet him in the classroom early the following morning. When I arrived he told me that some people had it in for him and were trying to get him fired. He asked if I'd write him a letter of recommendation.
When I asked what the problem was, he said he'd rather not discuss it – but was sure a letter from me would help. Well, I'd only seen him briefly actually teaching a class, but felt comfortable stating that I was impressed with what I saw – and that I'd heard good things about him from a number of his students.
A few days later I got a call from the principal asking if I'd be interested in taking over all of Mr. Davis' classes – because he'd been suspended. I said I'd do what I could – but was really only interested in teaching part time, and hoped I wouldn't have to be doing this for too long.
I was still in the dark as to what kind of trouble he was in – but began hearing rumors. I hadn't been aware that Mr. Davis was also the school's Water Polo Coach – and that some parents had complained about the manner in which he'd punished their allegedly misbehaving sons.
I was told he'd made each of them swim the length of the pool while carrying a folding chair.
Me? Replace a Fired Macintosh Teacher?
Well, I was hoping the matter would be quickly settled so he could get back to work. Like I said, he was the resident Macintosh technician as well as being a teacher – and I knew nothing about keeping the Macs maintained. Anyway, I heard through the grapevine that he'd apologized and would soon return to work.
But then there was the matter of the messages that had mysteriously appeared on the computers in the Mac Lab.
In large letters, each said some rather unkind things about the School Board members who had presumably voted for Davis' dismissal. Furthermore, the messages were locked in with a password system that kept them from being removed, short of reformatting the hard drives.
Well, it was assumed by the Board that Mr. Davis had done this – or was somehow involved in the creation of these uncomplimentary messages. I later found out who had done the deed – one of Mr. Davis' brighter students, who thought he was doing his teacher a favor.
In the meantime, however, Mr. Davis was fired and I was still stuck with his classes. Well, a Mac technician was brought in to fix the hard drives – and shortly after that (thank God) a full-time replacement for Mr. Davis was hired.
In the meantime, I got plenty of opportunity to keep an eye on Jessica, who by now was pointing me out to her friends and saying, "See that teacher? That's my grandpa."