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Descripción de editorial
Michael McCaffrey continues to wrestle with his own alienation and detachment from the teaching profession, direction of his life and personal relationships.
He is compelled to deal with unexpected loss and abandonment on multiple levels. Throughout his ordeals, he maintains his sense of humor and perspective. His setbacks, distractions and inertia make forward progress challenging. He observes the similar difficulty and indecisiveness experienced by two of his former university classmates.
His intentioned departure from teaching following his ninth year does not materialize. His ambition towards cultivating a stable relationship evaporates for reasons initially uncertain to him. He has difficulty coming to terms with his fragmented life that only periodically offers glimpses of hope and clarity.
An encounter with a former high school girlfriend prompts him to consider what might have happened had he never left his hometown. Another classmate, a self-professed business success, lectures one of classes and illustrates the contrast between McCaffrey’s present stagnation and a vocational path he abandoned early in his career.
As his narrative enters into his thirteenth year of teaching, his observations and caustic opinions become more pronounced and unwelcome. He’s aware of the estrangement with his current faculty peers. As his closet confidants leave, he realizes St. Elizabeth-St. Ignacious High School has changed irrevocably. He is not an integral part of the shift and has become professionally expendable.
During his tenth teaching year, a new Principal, Brother Morton Brickell replaces the departed Brother (Mumbles) Moody. McCaffrey compares Moody to a flute and Brickell to a brass trumpet, often loudly overstating the obvious. Brickell’s own tenure and influence becomes abbreviated due to a change in school management.
During the summer following his eleventh year, the financial allure of shifting back to corporate employment coupled by a seemingly healthy relationship nearly changes his fate. Despite the promising prospects, McCaffrey is destined to continue teaching and remaining alone.
Brickell’s replacement, Sister (Stoneface) Stanley clashes with McCaffrey her initial year following scrutiny of his teaching and religious commitment. The frigidity of their interactions prompts him to question how long she will tolerate his continued employment.
McCaffrey continues his satirical exchanges and pranks with faculty foils and adds additional victims. He charts the meteoric influential rise of the maintenance duo of Sid and Barney that culminates in a faculty Christmas party implosion. He assists a faculty peer in formatting teaching credential assignments that concludes with him doubting the substantive value of academic professional training.
McCaffrey documents his lively and playful interactions with his students. Tense moments intervene. He is confronted by a failing student that nearly erupts into a physical altercation. He must also calm the religious proselytizing from one of his zealous students seeking to convert him.
He attempts to keep his lectures varied and relevant despite his flagging enthusiasm. One of his classroom discussions addresses the increasingly escalating violence in his hometown when one of his students nearly becomes a casualty from a drive-by shooting.
A former favorite student returns on campus basking in an acclaim that eluded him while attending SESI. Another returns as a polished and attractive woman completing a teaching internship and introduces complications into McCaffrey’s relationship void and loneliness.
McCaffrey’s forebodings about Sister Stanley’s motives reach fruition during contract negotiations following his thirteenth teaching year. Will McCaffrey survive a decisive effort to get rid of him? If he is destined to leave, who will ultimately determine the terms of his departure?