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Anne Bellringer

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4.  The Edina Lunchroom Story of John D

Edina #4

This will be the last episode about Edina.  I shall then move on to the Forest Service incidents.  After tha,t I have many other experienes with Patrick that will hopefully be very enjoyable to read...NewYork City, farm life, our home in Jordan, MN. my teaching experiences....etc.  Well, here goes....


All the years (18) that Patrick spent in Edina he did a lot of supervising of the 8th grde lunch room.  I certainly do remember John D. I know his last name, but for the sake of prviacy, I will just call him John.

You see, Edinia was a very, very rich community with many corporate executives that had extremely expensive homes.  Their children were given everything possible to have, except a loving relationship with their parents.  Their father was busy 24 o7 and the mother had her schedule filled.  There was a maid who cleaned or even prepared meals, and the family rarely did anything together--even eat together.  The children ran free to do what they wanted, and had everything physical they wanted or needed.  John's family was no different.  He was a bully, a brat in all classes except Patrick's, and terror in the lunchroom.

Patrick dealt with John many times in the lunchroom, but the detentiion of putting up the chairs had no effect.  He bullied the students by grabbing their food, throwing it on the floor or throwing their fruit across the room.  He picked on one boy in particular.  This boy was quiet, smaller, and caused no problem.  Time after time John would grab his food and destroy his lunch.  There was coming a time of reconning that John was not expecting.   This boy had had enough of John D.

One day the lunch serving contained tomato soup and a sandwich with a fruit of some sort.  This boy was eating quietly when John roared in the lunch room as usual, went by this boy eating his lunch, grabbed his sandwich, smashed it on the floor and stomped off to his table of rowly boys.

The boy, whose food John destroyed, got up quietly from his chair carrying his bowl of tomato soup.  Patrick was watching this whole scene from the beinning,  He thought the boy was going to dump his soup in the garbage can because he didn't like it.  Patrick was about to reprimand John when he saw this boy walk quiety over to where John was eating and laughing at what he did.  John was screaming mad when he roared out of his chair as he felt the bowl of tomato soup being dumped on head, all over his face and clothing.  The room erupted in total laugher at John.  He got was was coming to him.

 Of course the boy served his dentention, but with pride.  As I recall, Patrick took John by the collar and litterly pushed him through the lunchroom door into the hallway.  He said to John that he was now forbidden to eat in the lunch room..  He could go and eat with the Janitors.

All of the D. family went through Patrick's classes.  They behaved well, even John. But John and the lunchroom is another episode that has never been forgotten .

3.  The escapdes at the Edina lunchroom-----

The Edina school in which Patrick taught had a very large lunchroom.  As I recall, there were 3 lunch periods.  These lunch periods were supervised (with pay) by the teachers in the school.

The adminstration had a terrible time trying to get teachers to supervise the lunch hours because the students were rowdy and threw food all over just so the janitor could pick it, or the techer supervising could pick up the mess on the floor.

 Patrick was approached "as a new teacher" to supervise the 8th grade lunch hour. They were desperate.  He agreed, much to their surprise.

You well know what happened.  With Mr. M., with"eyes" in the back of his head" saw everything.  He made those, who threw food around, to have detention.  What kind of detention?  Sit in the corner?  Go to a separate room after school?  Oh No!  Their punishment was to arrive early to scool, go to the lunchroom and set all the chairs at the tables.  The chairs were turned upside down on top of the tables so the janitor could mop the floor.  They were very heavy and there were LOTS of them.  

It didn't take long for things to settle down.  The lunch room was orderly, and no food was thrown on the floor.  Patrick refused to have any other teacher supervise with him because they didn't follow his instructions,  The students knew this, and started throwing food on the floor just to see this teacher grovel around and pick the crap off the flloor.  

Now there was a table of rowdy boys that began acting up.  They were put on detention but that did not matter. They ate like pigs, or rather I should say like a little baby in a high chair eating his first meal.

Patrick had a great idea.  He called the parents of the students and had their Corporate busy dad come and eat with them.  That did it,  The father sat at the table with these rowdy boys.   He said, ?" I do not EVER want to be called in to eat with you again.  You will behave while eating and not act like little babies!  IS THAT CLEAR?!"

They meekly replied they would behave properly i the lunchroom.  Patrick had a great lunch hour except for John D.  That's another story you will not forget........ANNE

2.  Patrick had more experieces at Edina which are of note.


He was treated unfairly by the Edina Board of Directors.  When he applied for a position at Edina, he had 5 degrees, totaling 500 credits of graduate and undergraduate studies he had earned.  Two of them were Master's Degrees.  

What did the board do?  They put him on the regular scheule not giving him credit for the Master scale.  There was nothing he could do but accept their offer.

During his teaching at Edina he re-wrote the entire science curicululm for Edina.  Random selection of students and not segregated by their grade average was reinstated for the classroom.  

Other teachers in Edina, who taught other 8th grade subjects, i.e, math or english, came to him to talk about certain students.  Some of their students were absolutely brats, refusing to cooperate and disturbing the class every day.  "What are they like in your class,  Mr. M.?"  Patrick replied "They are no trouble to me, and the ones you talk about are doing good work in my class and are  perfect students".    

Patrick got a good chance to converse with these other teachers about the way he taught, and his whole philosphy of treating the students with respect and dignity with part of their grade based on conduct and responsibility.

Patrick made a difference in the lives of his students.  There is a great saying:  "The teacher is the medium ." It's not just giving the student a book in science, and then sit back in your teacher's chair and knit or read and let the students learn by themselves. Patrick was certainly not a baby-sitter teacher.  His technique in teaching was asking questions and letting the students participate.  No on dared to fall asleep in his class, either.  Patrick was never like some teachers, who leclure the whole class period.  The learning done by just listening to a lecture is boring, and  the the retainment of what is said if not taking notes, is minimal.  That promotes unruly behavior, especially in a classroom full of teenagers.

 One boy in the front row fell asleep while Patrick was asking questions with students responding to the answer.  While he was asking questions he walked over to this boy's desk and slammed his hand on the desk and said, "Isn't that right, Mr. J.?  The student woke up immediatly to the laughter of his classmates.  This student never fell asleep again in Patrick's science class.


I've got more to tell you about the lunchroom that Patrick supervised while teaching at Edina..  You will laugh.  See you later.......Anne



I would like to tell you of a few experiences Patrick had while teaching in Edina, Minnesota.

The science department had reorganized their students into the "A" students, the "B"students and the rest as the flunkies, the D and F students.  Guess who got the last group?  Yup. Patrick.  The other two science teachers had a maximum of 20 students in their classes.

The flunkies came in by droves to Patrick's classroom.  If I remember right he had way over 40 students.  There weren't enough chairs!  They were the roudy, unteachables, and brats that the other teacher hated.  

After dealing with the ring leader things really settled down.  This boy would not stop.  The third day, Patrick quielty approached him, picked him up by the collar with one arm and marched him to the door.  The student was sent to the Principle's office.  Patrick did not want him in his classroom.  Several days later the students looked out the windown and saw this rowdy boy in police escort.  That did it.

He told them that their records did not matter to him, and that they could earn an an "A" if they wanted to work.  He graded them on their conduct and responsibility and treating other classmates with respect.  He treated them the same....respect, dignity and at times called them by Mr. or Miss.  Often times they said, "Mr. M. has eyes in the back of his head".

Can you imagine a roomful of 8th grade students packed in the classroom at attention, quiet, working and looking at Patrick (Mr. M.)with respect and a desire to learn?  While his students were quiet and respectful, Patrick could hear the yelling and rowdiness from the other classroom which was separated by a heavy curtain.  These were the "A" students who disliked the teacher and made it evident.

Needless to say, the reorganization fell apart after the first semester.   When the teacher-parent day came, his room was packed with parents who wanted their child to be in Patrick's class.  They new that their child would learn in his class. and not be disturbed by the unruly students in the other two science classrooms where it seemed no learning was done.

Patrick said that there was another student who acted up in class.  Patrick made arrangements with another 7th grade teacher about this student.  The teacher agreed to let Patrick's 8th grade student be in her classroom.   When this student came to Patrick's class, Patrick gave him a note saying that he would be in a 7th grade classroom.  The student said, Why?  Patrick replied that he acted like a 7th grader, so that is where he should be.  When he could be mature enough he could be back in Patrick's class.  It did'nt take but a few days when this student begged to come back to the 8th grade with Patrick.   He was a perfect student.


If you enjoyed reading these incidents, I have more to tell you.  Hope you enjoyed this one.   ....Anne