Monday, October 13, 2014

Night school

Carlos collapses in his desk exhausted. Bruised from confronting a male security guard for frisking a female student inappropriately. The only adults in the school are guards and janitors.

Reaching into his bag, Carlos pulls out his goggles so he can see the teacher. She appears in the front of the classroom and waves to him as he's automatically counted present.

Ms. Starbuck is a telework teacher. She worked from home, as all public school teachers do. This was the technical solution for the school system's budgetary shortfall. Only private schools have teachers in house, private schools and colleges.

She teaching a class on business ethics. Carlos doesn't understand how this will get him a job like his classmates, all of whom work. This is a night high school.

"Did everyone message me your homework last night? Let's see... Andrea, you and Carlos are the only missing assignments..." Starbuck turns floating pages in front of her swiping her finger in front of the her goggles.

Andrea, repositions her baby on her lap, so she can finger swap to find that missing assignment. She couldn't afford a babysitter tonight, so she brought the three month old with her to night school.

Ms. Starbuck continues teaching about the nobility of management, how companies are architecting a better society and jobs are citizenship...

Whack! whack! whack! A security guard bangs on the classroom doorframe. "Lunch time shit-heads! Sorry 'Buck, they'll be back in twenty minutes." The guard dons a helmet and visor, he see the teacher floating there, grimacing at him.

The students file into the hallway and are marched to the cafeteria. It's a cold, rectangular room, with metal tables and built in benches. Kids smoke in one corner. Andrea tries to breast feed her baby in another corner, her back to the lusty eyes of the guard. "Hey Andrea, you be sure to save me some. Don't want the baby get'n too fat!"

"Fuck you!" She responds. Carlos mumbles something below his breath.

While the students are on their lunch break, Starbuck reviews last nights home assignments. She has to give them multiple choice and true false assignments for ease of grading. She knows they're being cheated out an education, but what can one teacher do? The whole educational system is designed to produce fast food workers.

Starbuck sees students return to the classroom. One of them is bleeding from his forehead.

"Carlos, what happened to you?"

"He fell." Said the guard, wiping off his billy club. "Now go on and teach Starbuck, for all the good it'll do. I'll see'm on my day job at the prison sooner enough."

Carlos can only half of the teacher now, there's crack in his goggles. Andrea approaches him, once the guard walks away. "Por favor tomar mis gafas. I have to burp the baby."