Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Where Angels Fear to Tread (not about the book) (09/08/11)
TITLE: I Could Get Fired Over That
By Patricia Turner
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Stopping at the door to her eighth grade classroom, she took a breath, straightened her skirt with a twitch, and walked boldly to her desk.
The usual chaos of students finding there seats while conversing with friends seemed even more heightened today.
“Probably just me,” she thought, taking another deep breath to calm her nerves.
She'd even considered skipping this topic when she saw it in the syllabus the principal handed her on the first day of the semester. But it was important and she couldn't avoid it any longer.
“Boys, girls, take your seats. I want you to turn to page two-hundred-fifty-six in your text” she said, turning to write the topic on the white board at the front of the class.
A snicker arose, then another as the rustling of pages brought each student to the chapter heading: “Human Sexuality”.
“Hey, Miss Cortez, want me to teach the class today?” Tony Estrada's dark eyes darted salacious glances around the room, accompanied by laughter and shouts of “Yeah!”
“Not asking for volunteers, Mr. Estrada,” Maria responded, more calmly than she felt.
“Everyone take a few minutes to read the first two pages of the chapter and we'll review and discuss.”
“Quietly,” she added, addressing Eric and Angela at the back engaged in whispers.
“Miss, Cortez, are you going to explain how babies get made?” asked Veronica, a heavily made up and scantily dressed blond.
“'Course, she is,” returned Tony, twisting around and throwing an arm up on the back of his chair. “And I'll be glad to take you out Saturday night and show you.” This accompanied by more peals of laughter.
“That'll be enough,” responded Maria with a pointed look at Mr. Estrada.
“Now, class, there are diagrams in your book of the female and the male reproductive systems.”
“Not exactly anatomically correct, if you ask me,” spouted Eric from the back of the room. “See, Angie, I'll show you...”.
“Eric and Tony, both of you come up to the front of the room.” Maria speared each with a look as she spoke, crooking her index finger for emphasis.
The two boys swaggered up to the front of the room, grinning boldly around at the room.
“Want a piratical demonstration, Miss Cortez? I get Veronica for my partner,” leered Tony at the made-up blond.
“Eric, Tony, have a seat.” Maria indicated a couple of desks at the front of the room. Placing a piece of paper and a pencil on each of their desks, she continued. “I want each of you to write: “I will respect everyone” one-hundred times.”
“Miss Cortez...” whined Eric.
Maria held his gaze for a moment. “Mr. German, write.”
Having regained control of the class, and of her dignity, she continued.
“Angie, I'd like for you to read the first section for the class.”
“The female reproductive system, located in the lower abdomen, consists of a pair of ovaries, a uterus,...”
Two more students took their turns reading about zygotes and cell division. a somewhat dry and clinical depiction of human conception.
“Miss Cortez, I'd like to read next, please.” Helen was a quiet girl who excelled in her work and aced tests.
“For you formed me in my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...”
“Helen, where are you reading that?”
“It's from the Bible, Miss Cortez: Psalm 139.”
“Helen, you know we can't allow religious literature in class. Please bring that book up and put it on my desk. You can have it back after class.”
“Miss Cortez, if we can talk about the human body and sexuality in school, why can't we talk about God's word?”
“Helen, school rules are school rules.”
After class, Helen came to the desk to retrieve her book.
“Miss Cortez, what's harder; talking about sexuality, or talking about the Bible?”
“In school, frankly both. I almost think the Bible; ironically, I could get fired over that.”
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