2009-12-15: Class



Date: December 15th, 2009


A day in the life of the Palisades School


Palisades School

Lee doesn't treat the kids at the Palisades School any differently than he would any other group of kids, ignoring completely that they have powers. For most, this is a reassuring experience, given that they're stuck in a school because they have powers next to people who are stuck there because they have powers too and everyone else in their lives constantly harps on the fact they have powers twenty hours out of the day. However, this means that Lee sometimes can be very boring. And when teaching math, a subject he doesn't have much affinity for, although he's competent, things don't go so well. "Why do we even have to learn this?" whines a fifteen year old girl who really is as uniquely empowered as every fifteen year old girl thinks they are.

"Mathematics is good for your brain. You wouldn't try to run a marathon eating nothing but Big Macs all the time, right?" Lee says lamely, but when the class splits up into groups to work on problems independently, as it often does in the one-room-schoolhouse style that Lee has brought, the table Jamie is at is less concerned with the math and more concerned with badmouthing Lee.

For a kid as… energetic as Jamie, even sitting still in class can be a chore, let alone through a boring lesson. She does her best, though, fidgetting a bit but staying in her seat through the lesson. Then, when they break into groups, she's the one up out of her seat and running to get any supplies her table needs, just to get out of her seat. When she returns, she frowns at the bad-mouthing though. "He had a point, you know. Makes sense the brain needs exercise too, don't it?"

"You of all people should know better." insists one of the other students quietly. "With what we can do, what do we even need with nerds like Mr. Jones? Who cares what he has to say when you can get on TV or whatever anytime you want?"

Lee, his back turned, is putting up on the whiteboard the next lesson, which is poetry, which is much more his favorite.

Jamie looks up to Lee, and then back to the other student again, saying quietly, "The kid who put me on TV, he's really smart too. I think maybe that's why his power's so good. And me, when I change, I gotta think really really hard, to get in shape to change back. Maybe it'd be easier if I was smart too? I dunno." Then she gives the real reason, "I just don't wanna get in more trouble. I'm still in trouble from being on TV. Saul was so mad when he found out, thought he was gonna grind away all his teeth!"

The consensus is that math is stupid, but Jamie is funny. "How could you get in trouble from being on TV?" someone asks. That just doesn't make sense. Lee comes over to the table. "How's the problem coming? Have you worked out how to get moving on it?" he asks. Everyone freezes. So much for power.

Jamie, though, doesn't freeze. She's not a great liar, but that doesn't stop her from trying, and despite her earlier words of not wanting to get in trouble, she shows no fear in this situation. She looks up to Lee and answers, with a look of confusion, "Not yet, Mr. Jones. It's a tricky one." Of course, it's not actually a lie, since for her it is tricky, just not the whole truth.

Lee is extremely attuned to students BSing him. "Mm, okay, well, why don't you try assigning numbers to the chickens and see where that takes you. Draw a chart and look for the patterns." he instructs. "Like we did earlier." He moves on to another table, leaving the rebellion quashed momentarily.

Later that afternoon, in his office, Lee is packing up his stuff to go to his other teaching job, but always has a conference with a few students. MacMillan, the despised 'teacher's aide' who never does any actual aiding of teaching is also there, glowering over a notepad, furiously scribbling about the latest thing Lee's done, no doubt. Today is Jamie's day for a conference. "Hello, Jamie. How are things going?" Lee says reassuringly.

Where many of the children who come for these conferences may be nervous on entering, Jamie is never one of those. As far as Lee will have seen, she never shows fear about anything except guns and soldiers. She smiles cheerfully as she comes in, "Hi. They're going ok, I guess. Kinda boring, sometimes," she adds honestly, even as she hops into the chair on the student side of the desk, her feet beginning to swing under it immediately.

Lee replies, "I know, it's really tough to stay on campus all the time, even though the gym is great, this time of year there's not much to do outside in the quad. I'm working on trying to get some field trips together…" he says in all innocence, which gets MacMillan to almost stand up from his chair before Lee continues, "…but the administration has to make sure everyone's going to be safe. As far as I know things are still bad out there. Is there someplace in particular you'd like to visit?"

Even as MacMillan is almost standing up, Jame suddenly sits up straighter at the prospect of field trips, then slumps back slightly in disappointment as Lee continues. "Oh." Then at the question she considers a moment, and says, "A circus if one ever comes to town! Um… I'd like to visit Erin at the TV studio, but guess lotsa people'd recognize me there. Or..um… could we go see a movie, the whole class together? I dunno, never been on a field trip before, except for acrobatics stuff."

Lee replies, "I'd really like to get a movie afternoon together to teach a little about how movies are made, maybe have the class make some of their own. One thing we're not short of is technology here, so we have all the cameras and so on. A circus would be really cool, seeing how they take care of all the animals and practice their routines and so forth." He makes a note, taking the idea seriously. "I wish I could give you some news on the acrobatics thing, but we'll have to take this one step at a time. If the field trips go well, maybe then we can look at getting you on a team. The gym teacher told me you were terrific, keep working hard, she'll help you, okay?"

Jamie smiles brightly at the mention of being able to make their own movies, "That'd be fun! I always wanted to try that." Then she nods quickly at the idea of seeing a circus, "But, should make sure, some circuses are real mean to their animals, wouldn't wanna see that. But get a good circus, like ours used to be, and there's lots to see." Then she nods quickly again and smiles, "Ok, I will! Just practicing is fun anyway. Just even better with an audience."

Lee replies, "I didn't know you were from a circus family? You could probably tell me more than I could tell you about how it runs!" with a smile.

Jamie nods emphatically with a smile, "Uh-huh. My dad owned the circus, and my mom, she was an acrobat. The star! I was one too, she was teaching me lots. Did shows with her and even some on my own. It was the best!"

Lee says, "Excellent. Well, I'll definitely let you lead the class a bit if we get to do a field trip like that, are you up for it?" he urges, challenging.

Jamie nods quickly to that, sitting up straighter again, "I am! Really hope we get to do it." She bites her lip a moment there and then says, "It won't be until they stop trying to catch us, though, huh? What if it's years before they stop?"

Lee shakes his head. "One, it doesn't depend on that, two, it's not going to be years, three, you don't need to concern yourself with that. Your job is to get your grades up in World History and Mathematics, all right?" he says, shifting back more squarely into teacher-mode.

Jamie brightens again at the first two points, "Really?" Then the third, though, she wrinkles her nose a little and says, "I'll try. But they're hard. Especially history. How do you remember all the stuff you're supposed to?"

Lee says modestly, "I read a lot, study what I read, think about what I read, and I write a lot. Those four things are what you need to do. Have Jessamine go over her notes with you, compare what you each wrote down, see if you can explain it to each other." he urges. "That's one reason you have study partners."

Jamie blinks, "Oh. Ok, we can try that!" The method of studying might be pretty basic, but it seems to be new to her. "I'll talk to her tonight. Does the same thing work with math?"

Lee nods. "Exactly, except you have to work through each one together, since you're not just memorizing, you're trying to understand how it works. Were you taught at home by yourself?" he asks, making a note 'STUDY SKILLS' and underlining it twice, in red.

Jamie nods quickly to that and says, "Uh-huh." Then she takes a big breath, before explaining, talking fast, "At the circus my mom and sometimes my dad taught me everything. Couldn't go to a school on the road all the time. Then I wasn't in school at all, when I was working as a runner and entry specialist. I went to school for a little while, when I lived with Erin and Ali, and then another one when dad was outta jail and I stayed with him, but wasn't very long, 'cause dad owed a bunch of money and I had to work for Joe again, until the Company rescued me. Then I lived with Saul, and got taught at home again."

Lee says, "Some kids do very well studying alone at home but it really helps to have others to work with. You're getting along well with everyone, I hope? Sweeney isn't giving you any trouble?" Sweeney gives everyone some trouble.

Jamie nods quickly to the question. "Yep! I think so, anyway." then she wrinkles her nose again at the last question, "Well, he *tries*. I'm not easy to pick on. He can't hurt me, and he can't scare me. Or, well, guess he can, like at my old school when I lived with Ali and Erin. Made me change in front of everybody! But he hasn't figured out how," she says with a grin. "And don't mind changing anyway, 'cause everybody knows about me."

Lee says, "Just not in class." almost dismissively. "Okay, Jamie. Thanks for stopping in, I'll see you again tomorrow?" he urges.

Jamie nods quickly to that and says, "Not on purpose! And don't think Sweeny's smart enough to figure out how to get me to do it by accident." She grins. Then she hops to her feet and says, "Yep! I'll see you tomorrow!" She waves cheerfully and turns to the door.

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