Of Teachers and Dominatrixes

It was a long, but good, weekend. I saw A. on Friday; she successfully got away from her abusive husband and made it back to Florida in one piece. She stayed with us Friday night, which was a good thing, on the whole.

I took some pictures of her bruises and bite marks, so that if her husband tries to contest the divorce, she’ll have documentary evidence to support it.

Normally, I enjoy photographing her; she’s laways been one of my favorite models. But that was one of the most difficult and unpleasant things I’ve ever done with her.

Afterwards, we spent some time talking. She’s an inner-city middle-school teacher, with an interesting approach to maintaining order in her classrooms. She luses what she calls the “humiliation approach” to discipline.

Should a student forget his supplies, for example, she’ll make him walk up to her desk, where she keeps a bucket of crayons and a stack of the lined paper they use in kindergarten to teach handwriting, and that student will have to take notes in crayon on the handwriting paper. Or, if a student misbehaves, she’ll revoke the entire class’ privileges–a page borrowed from the book of US military boot camp.

Indeed, she was telling me the story of how she broke up a fight between two seventh-grade boys by telling them “You do not come to school so you can touch other boys!”–an effective strategy, given the psychology of most twelve-year-olds.

Who knew the skills necessary to be a middle-school teacher were the same as the skills that make a good dominatrix? The latter profession pays rather better, of course, but probably doesn’t have quite the same intangible rewards.