Just Another Kid Author:Torey L. Hayden It was a hodgepodge setup, that classroom, not unlike the rest of my life at the time. The room was huge, a cavernous old turn-of-the-century affair with a twelve-foot-high ceiling and magnificent large windows that looked out on absolutely nothing worth seeing: a brick wall and the chimney stack of the heating plant next door. A hefty chunk o... more »f the room had been partitioned off with gray steel industrial shelving units, used to store the school district's staff library. The L-shaped area that was left, was mine. Windows ran the length of the wide, long arm of the L, where the chairs and worktable were; the narrow, shorter, shorter arm of the L contained the chalkboard on one wall and the door at the far end. It was an adequate amount of space; I had taught in considerable more cramped conditions, but it was a quirky arrangement. The blackboard was useless because it couldn't be seen from the work area. And short of standing like a sentry at the junction of the two arms of the L, I could not monitor the door. Most eccentric, however, was the district's decision to combine a classroom for disturbed children with a staff library.
This was to be the first official self-contained classroom in the district for E.D.-emotionally disturbed-children since the mainstreaming law had come into existence back in the seventies. I was called a consultant resource person in my job description; the children were termed behaviorally disordered; and the classroom was known, on paper, only as The Center, but we'd come full circle. For me, walking back into the schoolroom that late August morning, having been gone from teaching almost six years, had provoked a sense of intense deja vu. It seemed simultaneously as if I had been away forever and yet had never left at all.
I hadn't meant to be teaching again. I'd been abroad for almost two years, working full time as a writer, and I intended to return to my life in Wales, to my stone cottage, my dog and my Scottish fiance. But family matters had brought me home, and then I'd gotten embroiled in the interminable red tape involved with gaining a permanent British visa. Every conceivable problem cropped up, from lost bank records to closed consulates, and one month's wait stretched out to three and then four, with no clear prospect of the visa's arrival. Disconcerted and annoyed, I traveled among friends and family.« less