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Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Importance of Professionalism

This is the year I'm finally going to apply for my professional licensure and I was leafing through the requirements, one of which is hours spent in a mentoring and induction program. Even though I've been teaching for a number of years, believe it or not this is the first year that I've actually had a mentor. See, when I started at the DarkSide, there was no one there that could possibly count as a mentor and their version of induction was more like "trial by fire". Eventually the tables were turned and I became a mentor of sorts by default because I, after being there for a full year, had become the senior staffer.

As for an induction program, well I felt I was fully inducted the first day after orientation when I spent two hours in the employee parking lot restraining a kid who was trying to escape from the campus in order to firebomb the mall.

The other requirement for gaining professional licensure is professional development which of course was not exactly available at a residential where it was eventually discovered that the place was dead broke, mostly because the higher ups were embezzling money like it was going out of style. However, I always believed I knew the meaning of being a true professional.

Nick, the child of the window chucking fame, was indeed brilliant but he was also supremely intolerant and had a hair trigger temper. Unfortunately he was stuck in a classroom with quite a few socially awkward, rather deviant personalities.

One afternoon Nick was standing a few feet away from my desk, staring off into space when his reverie was interrupted by Matt, one of the aforementioned socially awkward members of our little family. Matt had a bad habit of talking in what he called his "retard" voice in a vain attempt to entertain the other boys while completely ignoring his classmates' personal bubbles.

Matt had approached Nick and was poking him in the arm, asking repeatedly, "What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?" in a nasally, Steve Urkel type voice. Now, I can see the aggravation creeping into Nick's face as it turns crimson, his skin reddening deeper with each successive poke of Matt's pudgy little finger. I know for a fact that this is not going to end well but being the consummate professional that I am, I kick my feet up on my desk and just watch Nick's fuse burn down to the quick. I was well rewarded for that decision because not five seconds later Nick grabs Matt by the shoulders, shakes him twice, and yells,

"What's my favorite flavor of ice cream? My favorite flavor of ice cream is SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

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