Education Squirrels

In Flotsam and Jetsam

By Riverboat
Aug. 10, 2017 at 1:14 a.m.

The past few nights I’ve woken up dreaming I was being pursued by school district personnel to return to the classroom. This was triggered by the knowledge that teachers in Victoria ISD have returned to work as of Monday. If I hadn’t retired and moved back to Houston, I’d be setting up my classroom and bracing myself for another round of inservice horsehockey. As much as I relish retirement, I still miss the camaraderie of most students and other teachers.

It’s no exaggeration to say there’s a trench mentality among the beleaguered cadre of underappreciated professionals. We have to answer to parents and students, of course. Then there are the administrators at the school and district level, plus the statewide muckety-mucks.

Somewhere in the middle are the pretend administrators, namely, the instructional coaches. They’re like the squirrels that scurry inside electrical transformers and short-circuit an otherwise functioning current and turn the neighborhood dark and splatter themselves in the process. I haven’t overlooked the solons at the state and federal level. Their interference with education can only have one outcome more parlous than their interference with the economy or anything else they touch.

Have I left anyone out?

This dream is not far-fetched. A year after I retired, I attended Victoria’s new teacher orientation to help recruit members for the union. Someone from the personnel office recognized me and asked if I was interested in returning to the classroom to fill a shortage of foreign language teachers. I caught myself before laughing maniacally, and politely declined.  

On my trophy shelf is a tag one of my students made. She and a group of others shouted during class, “You’re the best Hubbell ever!” I don’t remember what caused the outburst. Probably I had postponed a quiz. The next day I received a home-made ribbon with “BEST HUBBELL” on it. I cried a little, and have cherished it ever since.

My wife asks me from time to time if I’m ready to go back. If I could just teach without having to look over my shoulder at all the people I have to please, I never would have left. 

Patrick Hubbell - August 10, 2017



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