I have worked for SIX, yes, six principals and there is one who stands out the most. It isn’t because he was Math and I am English. It isn’t because he knows my husband and they have mutual friends. I enjoyed him the most for his colloquial trivia.
For example, one morning he was standing in the main office and called me in… “Mrs. Ellsworth will know the answer, I just know it. ”
“Uh-oh.” There were other teachers standing in there too. Jeez he stumped them too. “Is it one of those logic questions again? I don’t do logic.”
“Nope, it’s about shopping for fruits.”
“Okay, try me.”
He rubbed his hands together and he had a sparkle in his eyes. I started to sweat. He took a deep breath and began “Out of the top three selling fruits, you have five apples and seven oranges. What does that leave you with?”
My mind was spinning. I took a deeper breath and looked around to my co-workers. No one attempted to help me… “That’s it?”
“Obviously, it leaves me with eleven errr, ummm, grapes!”
“Nooooo, where did you get grapes?”
“The Fruit Section. Ok, what’s the correct answer?”
“How many bananas?”
“What am I going to do with eleven bananas?”
“What are you going to do with eleven grapes?!” He was (sarcastically) huffing and disappointed.
“Eat them, in one sitting. Why did you pick bananas? I figure it could have been any thing as long as you followed the Prime Number listing-thingy. Right?”
“Bananas are one of the top three fresh fruits. Where do you shop? Jeez….”
He tossed me a mini Milky Way, and I went to my classroom. My thoughts were on the popularity of bananas vs. grapes. (And undoing the wrapper of the Milky Way.). Oh well. Time to teach!
This particular principal was one of a kind (in my world). He honored my request for Teddy bear pancakes during Staff Breakfast Potlucks…
He was notorious for taking the heat out of any argument at school. He would say, “There are two sides to a pancake and whatever is in the middle is the problem (gooey and shapeless). Is it worth fighting for? Think about it for a few minutes.
Really consider it, do you guys need me to get involved as well as your parents?”
Damned if it didn’t work! I liked joking around with that Principal. He was chivalrous and full of random trivia. He respected me and vice-versa.
Another example: He answered the school office phone when the local Veterinarian called, he said that I was in class and that she could leave me a message… It turned out that my new kitten died in surgery.
He knew that I would be devastated when I found out. He called my husband; called a sub in to cover my classes. When a familiar face who subs in emergencies walked in, and my husband was waiting in the hallways to escort me to the office, I had no idea what it was about. Thank God I saw my husband-he had ridden his motorcycle to work… My mind and breath began to even out again.
I saw my Principal’s face, my husband stepped to the area of the Principal and softly told me what the Veterinarian told him. My husband caught me just in time and brought me home.
He not only knew me, he understood me. Don’t get me wrong, he had his personal life issues, but the professional Principal who I worked with, was a wise and kind soul. I notice that I used some of his “trusty stand by statements” which made more sense –than what I would love to scream at people.
He taught me a lot. I learned about my weaknesses and strengths. I learned some things that were math specific. I also learned how to read people via their body language.
He’s retired now and lives in a different town. We run in different circles now. He may not take credit for these things; but this is my side of the pancake.