I've been reading my own books during his class. (Right now it's Charles de Lint's The Onion Girl, which rules.) I do this whenever I can get away with it in school. Sometimes teachers tell me to put the book away, sometimes they don't; when they do, I put it away. I have been known to start conveniently forgetting their warnings after some time, but when they tell me to put the book away, I put it away. Dugandzic has never told me to put the book away before.
He's in a bad mood today, apparently, or maybe he's just feeling confrontational. In any case, he starts in on this long speech about how he doesn't feel some of us are paying enough attention in class or doing enough work. Some of us, he says, seem to think that we've already graduated. That we don't have to do any work. Well, he doesn't know how other teachers do it (he says), but in his class, we've still got plenty of assignments planned. Don't like that? Well, you can just walk out the door, then. You don't have to be here. You can drop out of school and get a GED instead of finishing out the year. That's not his business. Do you want to do that? No? Well, start working, then!
That spiel over with, he starts to go on to our actual work, pausing to berate people for forgetting to bring their textbooks. Suddenly, his tone not changing, he says, "Sarah, go out and read your book in the hall."
I blink, sit up, and put my book away in my backpack regretfully.
He says, "If you're not going to read what we're reading, go out to the hall to read your own book."
I look at him. I look at my cleared desk.
He says, "You can sit out there and read your book, or you can go to the office and talk to Mr. Sorrentino." Gary Sorrentino is the vice-principal and the dean of discipline. His hand holds the ruler that smacks the knuckles. Figuratively speaking, of course. This high school is far too enlightened to sanction such a brutal thing.
I look at my cleared desk. I look at Dugandzic. "I put my book away."
"And you didn't take out your textbook. Get out of the room."
I don't have my textbook. Only so many textbooks can fit in my backpack each day, and we only get four minutes between classes--not enough to go to our lockers. I just look at Dugandzic.
He says, "It's going to be insubordination if you don't get out now. Do you want to go to the office?"
I reach back into my backpack, take out The Onion Girl, grab the backpack itself, and walk out of the room. There's an empty desk outside that's no less comfortable than the ones inside. I sit there and read.
Some time later I hear snippets of conversation discussing the famed "lean and hungry look" quote from Julius Caesar. I listen as best I can; it's the only Shakespeare play I've seen on stage (although granted, that was at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park and the tickets were free), and I'm very fond of that quote in particular.
"...and Brutus was the leader of the scheme..." Dugandzic is saying. Oh, no. He's telling him that the quote referred to Brutus, isn't he? It would be just like him.
I get up, walk to the door, poke my head in, and inform the class, "Actually, the quote was about Cassius." Then I go and sit back down again.
Dugandzic walks over and closes the door. I win.