This news item caught my eye the other day: "Former Teacher Surrenders at French School."
It struck me for the simple reason that we are inundated, sadly, with stories of students turning on their peers and bringing a gun to school to settle things. In the dark places where my mind wanders after a day like today, I have wondered why more teachers don't seek some kind of revenge or retribution. That kind of thing is relegated to "disgruntled postal employees." Maybe teachers, like George Lucas' Jedi, aren't the "revenge type."
Nicolas Vilpail apparently was. He took twenty-three hostages, mostly students, and held them for four hours. I usually hold my students against their will for five to ten minutes before I can no longer stand their mewling and panting. I suppose it could be argued that I hold them hostage for six and a half hours every day (minus recess and lunch - with the occasional trip to the bathroom or assembly). To hear some of them tell it, I might as well have them at gunpoint. One of two teacher's aides taken captive said Vilpail appeared "calm and terribly depressed." Listening to me through the door to my classroom might provide the same assessment of my demeanor on any given day.
The solution occurred to me obliquely today as I filled out a fourth health care referral (headache, stomach ache, twisted right ankle - or was it left?, bruised ego): Mister Caven needs to go to the nurse's office. He is "Emotionally Exhausted and Morally Bankrupt," a la Major Frank Burns. I promise to come back after I call home, an ice pack, and my spirit renewed.