The principal’s normally calm voice on the phone was unusually dramatic. “When I took this position, I was warned about the 4th grade teacher. She disciplines the class through fear. In the past, parents put up with her, but now a vocal group of parents want her fired or fixed—their words, not mine. I can’t fire her because she has tenure; yelling at students is not cause to terminate a contract. I’ve tried to suggest alternative ways to discipline her class but nothing’s worked. I’ve run out of ideas. Can you come? If anyone can help her, it’s you.”
In May 1983, funded by a university grant, “Have myth, will travel,” I wove together a program of workshops, seminars, and courses, for faculty, students, and staff. When it came time to leading a workshop for faculty, I found myself unusually nervous. Faculty can be very critical and those who signed up let me know it was mostly out of curiosity rather than an interest in stories. Usually when I lead a group I don’t do the activities—it’s easier to focus on what the participants do—but the faculty asked that I join them and I agreed.
The skies were clear. The sun was shining. A friend and I started down the mountain. Minutes later, black clouds blotted out the sun. The temperature fell. It began to hail—large hard balls of ice that pummeled our heads and hands and faces. Soon, along with the hail came drenching rain that quickly filled the arroyos and trail with gushing, rushing, water, making it impossible to make our way down the trail. We were shocked that weather could change so dramatically.
Life tales from a woman different living in The City Different.