Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas Card

Spring 2006

"Vicki," I snarl, "Please put away your phone." I turn my attention back to the class, we've got alot to finish today. Out of the corner of my eye I spot Vicki texting under the desk. "Vicki, put it away, now."

Vicki nods, keeps texting.

My voice darkens. "Vicki..."

She snaps her phone shut, "Okay Mister," she waves magnamiously, "you can start now."

"I can start now?" I choke, furious. I want to scream at her, this is at least the sixth time I've warned her about the phone. I want to pick Vicki up and toss her across the room. Instead I pull out my phone, a cheap silver Quallcom already two years out of date. "This is what I think of phones!" I scream.

I toss it across the room, it hits a closet and clatters to the ground.

The class gasps. Vicki shrugs her shoulders.

"That's no good," I mutter. I pick up the phone, throw it as hard as I can and this time it breaks apart, parts flying over the floor. "If I'm willing to do that to my phone, just think what I'm willing to do to yours! I had better never see that phone again, understand!"

No one moves, the students aren't accumstomed to me yelling. I'm the happy-go-lucky, buddy, pal around teacher. Vicki hunches her shoulders as she slides downward, face turned toward the desk.

John gets out of his seat, grabs the pieces of my phone. "Don't get mad, mister."

I can hear my pulse throbbing in my ears, my heart is an organ of fire, for a moment I have to fight the urge to rampage through the room, scattering student and desk alike, a 5'5 half-Jewish green-eyed Tasmanian Devil. Vicki brings out the worst in me, constantly refusing help when it is offered but demanding it when she is presented with a problem she doesn't understand.

Spoiled, self-absorbed, and conceited, Vicki's only true interest is Kobe Bryant, the only way I can get her attention at all is to mention the LA Laker by name. She spends hours writing notes to her friends, but not five minutes on the essay presented to the class.

John hands me my phone. It's fixed.

I frown. Don't you get it kid, I'm trying to intimidate this class. "Thanks." I grumble.


We're in an IEP meeting. Vicki sits across me at the table, arms folded. "I think it would be best for everyone if Vicki was moved into Resource. She's made it pretty clear that she doesn't want or need my assistance."

The counselor turns to Vicki. She shrugs, "Fine."

Other then passing her in the hallways, that is the last time I see her.


A student candy-gram makes the rounds, handing out Christmas cards from students to teachers. I've only gotten one this year, it was a Birthday Card with pirates on it.

The candy gram presents me a with a hand made card from an art class. "This is for you Mr. Leiken."

Dear Mr. Leiken,
Thank you for all your help. You were a really good teacher and I just wanted to say you helped me learn how to read. I also wanted to say that I learned a lot from you.

P.S. Kobe is still the best.
I love Kobe!

- Vicki

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