People often ask me if drugs were/are a problem at school. I shock them by saying, “No, drugs aren’t a problem, they are a symptom of a problem or multiple problems.” Then I add a second shock when I say, “And alcohol is the most abused drug I’ve encountered.” So let me tell you about some drunks I discovered at school, what I told my students about it and the most outrageous true story of drunkenness that I have ever come across – how my brother went to sleep in his home and woke up in jail!
I believe there is great benefit in learning to read, write, speak and understand English especially if you’re living in an English speaking country. But my heart goes out to anybody who is trying to learn English as a second or third language. English is a crazy language. And if you really want to know how crazy English is, try teaching it!
And sometimes, teachers even save lives. This is one of those stories. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not about anything noble like taking a bullet or rushing into a burning building. Nope. Sorry. It’s not about the day to day influence we exert that comes back to us years later when a former student lovingly says, “You helped me.” No. This is a story of how dumb luck and my Captain Bligh routine literally saved a kid’s life!
I had accepted a job in Musicians’ Hell. I had just started working for the school district and was rather naive. The job was band/orchestra instructor at a performing arts magnet middle school. You’d think that such a job would be fun but… It was late in the spring semester and I was the third band instructor these students had that year and I was as welcome as an evil stepfather in a dysfunctional family.