Roland, who has been teaching at Enka for twelve years now (and should damn well know better), has come to nearly national attention in the past couple of weeks because he's taken to writing "Loser" as a teacher's comment next to his grades. Specifically, he seems to have taken a particular dislike to Patty Clement's sixth grade daughter, who has received the comment, in Roland's own hand, on her papers more than once since the beginning of the year. Initially, Mrs. Clements complained to the principal, who assured her the comments would stop. They did--for a while. But I guess Mr. Roland's attention span isn't very long, because a couple of weeks ago, the little Clements girl came home with this lovely note at the top of her paper:
Mrs. Clements complained again, and this time, received an apology from Roland, but with the disclaimer that this was just his way of "relating to the kids."
Bear in mind that Mr. Roland, according to his official bio on the Enka Middle School website, graduated from high school in 1977. So did I, so that makes us roughly the same age. A man in his early fifties should know enough to realize that he's never going to "relate" to middle school kids on their level. Nor should he try. He's the past. They're the future. (And I say that with all the self-realization in the world.) They don't need another rude-ass peer. They need a leader, a teacher, a role model. In other words, an adult.
Since Mr. Roland seems free and easy in his ability to categorize and label people in the brashest, most hurtful way possible, I think I'll show him what if feels like to be on the other side of the harsh character judgements. Because, to be honest, I think something's going on with him that's got nothing to do with young Miss Clements (who's just cute as a bug, if you've seen the news story on this): 1) Either Rex Roland is going through one monster of an andropause-induced mid-life crisis and has somehow jettisoned himself back into one of the cruelest and least civilized times in one's life (middle school), or 2) he's imbibing whilst grading papers. Or perhaps a little of both. These may seem like unfair assertions, but I'm actually giving him the benefit of the doubt. I am choosing to believe that Roland is basically a decent middle-aged guy who has gone temporarily around the bend--nothing a little Prozac, some bio-identical testosterone and/or a 12-step program can't fix--rather than to believe he's merely an insensitive, heartless, myopic dickweed who should be stripped of his teaching credential as soon as humanly possible. (Wait... Is dick-weed hyphenated? Hmmmm... it's not in spell-check!)
Anyway, now that The Chron thinks about it, we're not going to give Rex Roland the entire "It Takes One To Know One" Award this year. We're going to deduct 50% from him, for being such a loser.
Nice going, Rex. Way to inspire and uplift. Keep up the good work.
P.S. Hopefully, I'm not offending Mr. Roland by calling him a dick-weed. I'm only trying to relate to him in the same, name-calling, demeaning, belittling way he believes is appropriate to use when "relating" to his students. I'm sure he understands completely--just like the students who must suffer his mean comments.