Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Back To the Pool

Last Day

I put on a more swimsuity outfit and went back to the pool for the afternoon. I just didn't want to bother making an issue should that little lifeguard be there again. I don't know, as there are so many different girls there which one she is. (Does "They all look alike," work here?) Since it was the last day the pool was open, I just wanted to swim.

I must have done double laps. The water felt great. I am going to miss it.

I do intend to follow through with upper management to get a swimsuit clarification. I have no idea why there are restrictions. I am sure what I was wearing was quite appropriate and sanitary. It certainly was modest enough. But, I will get to the bottom and the top of it eventually.

I did not work the Boys. It was a combination of all the swimming and the fact that, for the first time in weeks, they were all out in the pasture enjoying the grazing. It was rather cool, with a fairly nice breeze blowing. They seemed so content, and didn't even want to come in for dinner.

Now the truth of retirement comes into play. Yesterday was Labor Day, the traditional last day before the start of school. Normally, today, I would be at a teachers' meeting and then in my classroom, trying to set things up for the first day of students.

As I have said before, I honestly don't seem to miss it. I did have another dream last night, though, so it must be on my mind. This time, I was in a new little classroom. There was a nice window, and a nice breeze. The room had a teacher's desk but no student desks yet. Again, as in the last dream I remember, I was there to set things up for my replacement.

The room was too small to hold more than, perhaps 10 students, so that was a plus. But when he, a nice young man, finally arrived and I saw his schedule, I knew why he had been so reluctant to even show up. He had been given three of the worst classes in the building.

I woke up, then. I suspect, analyzing it, I had somehow regressed to my own first day of teaching there. The principal who had hired me was a major male chauvanist. He was totally convinced that female teachers could not possibly succeed in a vocational high school. In fact, the woman English teacher I was replacing had supposedly been driven from the job in tears by one of her classes.

Since one male teacher and I were the only two people who even applied for the open jobs, they had no choice but to hire me for one, but it was with great skepticism on my principal's part. Of course, to prove his point, he put two of the most notorious classes in my schedule. The one class, a third year (11th grade) group of welders had guys in it who were only about three years younger than I was at the time.

Well, they were big guys, but not as big as a 1200 pound horse, so I just worked on teaching them with similar principles. I will not say there were days when I went home totally demoralized, but I succeeded. Bt the end of the year, they were actually moderately good for me, doing my required work to some degree, and had started to defend me once in a while. One of them, going out the door on the last day of school, put his hand on my shoulder and said, "You'll do fine here, Ms. Dvorak. You made it through our class. You can make it through anything."

Words to cherish and abosolutely true.

After that, more and more female teachers came into the school.


  1. Wonderful story! When I started work in the 70s, I was just behind the first women to enter my profession at the time, which was law. My law school class had a quota of the maximum number of women, and there was a huge amount of discrimination in school and in the work world, both direct and unintended (older men treating you like a daughter instead of a colleague). There have been enormous changes since then.

  2. but there are still people out there who think women shouldn't be.

    i broke a boundary in my first job - bus driving. until i went in as a driver, without having been a conductor first, the only women drivers in the town were a good few years older, and had been conductors (well, conductresses, to use the term of the time!). So everyone was somewhat gobsmacked when this 21 year old blonde driver appeared out of nowhere. had to develop a very thick skin...

  3. I hope you share the swimsuit clarification with us. I wonder if it is a general edict against "street clothes" to stop people swimming in T-Shirts and such?