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Brian Theodore

As summer dwindles away and that crucial day when school officially starts gets closer, I feel a mounting anxiety that always accompanies the unknown. And even though there are “guidelines” and suggestions and rules, nothing prepares one completely for the unexpected. But training helps.

However, I am not much for seminars and meetings where I am stuck to a seat taking notes. Ironic, isn’t it? However, in my defense, there was hardly a day in class where my students and I did not go out into the hall and discuss some detrimental matter regarding verb usage or the themes of Beowulf, just to be moving.

Regardless, I find the older I get, the less I like to be stationary for long amounts of time -unless it is in my recliner. I do not want to be trapped or forced into an hour-long dialogue of rules I will not remember until I am forced to apply them.

Nevertheless, I am afraid it is sometimes necessary, and many times effectively prescribed.

Comparatively, in my mid-20s I worked as a teller at a local bank. The institution took up a whole block on Main Street, and I was proud to work there, mainly because of the people. Nine years of my life passed among those walls, and ironically the whole time I dreamt of being a teacher, and to my advantage, the people there supported my dreams like a nurturing family.

However, as an employee of a federally insured bank, I was required to attend classes, and found myself carpooling in the evenings with loan officers and the like, who were also required to attend these classes. This was a bit uncomfortable sometimes.

My dress pants were frayed on the ends like old blue jeans an older sibling passed down. In those early years, I felt I never acquired that banking image. But again, their kindness prevailed. The bank president’s wife actually gave me several pair of slacks her son did not wear, and I was not too proud to take them.

However, as we carpooled to the banking classes, we took turns driving. The one time I drove for our group, my old car broke down. I remember it was (fittingly) raining and my battery failed as we all loaded up for our flight home. There was that slow appalling whine of the engine as four other people listened with a collective sense of dread that I will never forget.

Somehow, I got the old girl started, and I thanked God the rest of the way home because it definitely was not my mechanical abilities.

I still remember those banking classes. They imparted a lot of regulatory rules regarding cashing checks and federal laws and guidelines. However, they also provided guidance on what to do if we were robbed.

Well, not long after that class, while counting money on the teller line during a busy part of the month, I was robbed. He had on a blue windbreaker and dark hair and passed a note that decreed his intentions. I thought at first the threatening note was a joke, but his angry demeanor told me otherwise.

I must say, the training from those classes helped immensely, and although in no way was the robbery thwarted, my co-workers and I reacted in a professional manner that kept us safe. I honestly knew what to do because of the training, and since that day, respect the necessity of it.

That day I was robbed, after the robber ran out the front door, I ran to the back, side door in hopes of seeing which way he went. As I put my hand on the doorknob to open the door, my training came back to me. While I might have seen which way the robber went, I would have also been endangering myself and coworkers by possibly letting him back into the bank.

I do not know what we will be getting into for sure when school starts, but I have found that the more prepared I am, the more control I have over that anxiety. Now I just have to find a cool mask to wear. One of my coworkers and I are thinking about a mask that says, “Big brother is watching you!” We would be wearing it ironically of course. Not to mention it references a wonderful work of literature.

Brian Theodore is a language arts teacher at Corbin High School and lives in Corbin with his wife, who is also a teacher at CHS. He can be contacted at Theteachersdesk.theodore@gmail.com.

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