As the teacher was delivering an intriguing lecture on optics, a ward boy interrupted the class by seeking permission to enter and handed her a slip of paper. Reading the memo, she addressed Mark Graham Carlson, informing him that the principal wanted to meet him in his office. Although the teacher's tone was jocular, Mark appeared apprehensive as he got up and walked down the aisle, avoiding eye contact with anyone. His mind raced with possibilities as to why he was summoned, ranging from the graffiti in the bathroom to his math grades.
Mark was a stout student with a broad forehead and a chubby face, standing at around 5 and a half feet tall. Due to his height, he was seated at the back of the classroom, where he appeared disinterested and lazy. His grades were average in all subjects except computer science and English, in which he excelled. Despite being mediocre in most subjects, he would surprise his classmates with his exceptional skills in coding and language. Nevertheless, Mark had few friends due to his unpredictability and tendency to be grumpy, occasionally making insolent remarks that could offend anyone. His classmates kept their distance from him, never knowing when he would lash out at them.
As Mark walked towards the principal's office, he cursed himself for writing a derisive comment about his physics teacher on the bathroom wall. Teacher Anderson, or Mr. A, had called him out for not being able to solve a differential equation and jokingly suggested that he sit under a tree and wait for an apple to fall on his head to fix his brain. Furious, Mark sprayed his graffiti on the bathroom wall, but was caught by a cleaning staff member who he bribed with a cigarette and $20 to keep it a secret. Unfortunately, the staff member reported him to the school warden, who fined Mark for possessing a cigarette and attempting to bribe an employee. Mark begged the warden to keep the matter under wraps and apologized for his actions, but was warned that he could face expulsion if he repeated them.
Upon entering the principal's office, Mark was stopped by the secretary, Mrs. Emily, who asked him why he was not in class. Mark handed her the memo and replied bluntly, catching her off guard. Mrs. Emily responded unpleasantly, telling Mark to have a seat as the principal was busy and she would call him in later. Mark sat down on a sofa in the corner, feeling nervous as this was his first time being called to the principal's office. He began to fear that the school had decided to expel him, his heart palpitating as he tried to brace himself for the worst. He couldn't help but keep his eyes fixed on the secretary, his heart skipping a beat every time the phone on her desk rang.
The phone rang once more, causing Mark to gasp and freeze as he heard his name being called. "Mr. Carlson, the principal will see you now," came the voice on the other end of the line. Mark made his way to the door with heavy steps, struggling to keep his nerves in check. "May I come in, sir?" he asked in a shaky voice. The person inside responded in a clear, authoritative tone, instructing Mark to take a seat as the meeting would take some time. The current principal, Mr. James, had only taken the position a few months prior, having previously served as a vice principal in a private school in town. Known for his ability to fix disciplinary and academic issues within schools, Mr. James exuded confidence with his commanding presence. Despite his formal attire and somber appearance, there was a slight warmth and approachability to his demeanor that put both students and staff at ease.
"so Mr Mark, your teachers and classmates have complained that you do not behave properly in class, so are rude mean and agry to them often", "Apart from your below average performance, you also defaced school property, found possessing cigarrettes and attempting to bribe security and cleaning staff". Mr James annoyingly read out from the bunch of papers he had in is hand.
As Mr. James spoke, Mark's heart sank further. He knew he had been in trouble before, but this time it seemed to be more serious. He couldn't even bring himself to look up at the principal. The accusations against him were true, and he felt ashamed. He had never meant to hurt anyone, but he knew that was no excuse.
"I... I'm sorry, sir," Mark stammered, his voice barely audible. "I know I haven't been doing well in class, and I have been having some personal problems lately. But I had no right to deface school property or insult anyone, and I understand how serious that is."
Mr. James nodded, his expression stern. "Yes, it is very serious, Mr. Mark. Your behavior has not only been disruptive to the school, but it has also hurt others. It is unacceptable."
Mark nodded in agreement, feeling even more ashamed. He knew he had let down the school and the people around him.
"Now, I want to hear from you," Mr. James continued, his voice softer now. "What is going on with you, Mr. Mark? Why have you been acting out like this?"
Mark took a deep breath, feeling tears well up in his eyes. He didn't know where to begin. He had been struggling with his parents' divorce, his grades were slipping, and he didn't have any close friends at school. But he didn't want to make excuses.
"I don't know, sir," Mark replied, his voice shaking. "I guess I've just been having a tough time lately. My parents are getting divorced and there is an atmosphere of negativity, chaos and disorientation in my house.. I hardly sleep at night and my stress had given me the habit of overeating... But I know that doesn't excuse what I've done."
The principal looked at Mark for a moment before speaking, "I am sorry to hear about your parents, Mark. Divorce is a tough thing to go through, especially for a young person like you. But I am glad you took the responsibility for your actions. And we need to work together to figure out how to address these issues. Are you willing to do that?"
Mark nodded, feeling a glimmer of hope. Maybe he could turn things around. Maybe he could make things right. "I understand, sir. And I am willing to make things right. I will apologize to my teachers and classmates, and I will clean up the defaced walls. I will do whatever it takes to show that I am truly sorry for my behavior."
The principal looked at Mark for a moment before speaking, "I appreciate your willingness to change, Mark. But I am afraid that it's not enough. Your behavior has consequences, and you need to face them. I am going to suspend you for two weeks, When you return to school, you will need to make up for the work you have missed and show that you are committed to improving your behavior."
Mark nodded, feeling a sense of determination. He knew that he had a lot of work to do, but he was ready to face it. He stood up and walked out of the office, feeling a mix of relief and nervousness. He knew that he had a long road ahead of him, but he was ready to take the first step.
As Mark stepped out of the lobby, Mrs. Emily called out his name and handed him some papers. "Here you go," she said, attempting to sound sympathetic. Mark took the papers from her, aware of their contents. One was a suspension order, a blemish on his academic record, and the other was an appointment letter to see the school counselor, Miss Chloe. "You're required to visit Miss Chloe's office after lunch today," Mrs. Emily informed him with a subtle smile. Mark nodded in agreement. He couldn't help but think about what his classmates would say if they found out about his situation. "They'll think I'm mentally ill," he muttered to himself as he headed towards his classroom.
Fortunately, everyone was outside for the games hour, so Mark quietly collected his books and left the school building. He made his way to the health and medicine complex and easily located Miss Chloe's office, which had recently been painted with blue and green patterns and had a pleasant fragrance of mint and vanilla from the air freshener. The ambiance was relaxing and comfortable.
Mark nervously knocked on the door and was greeted by a charming young lady with a smile. "Good afternoon, how can I assist you?" she asked. Mark handed her the papers, and as she read the suspension order, he realized his mistake. However, it was too late, and she already knew about his suspension. "I'm sorry about your situation, Mr. Mark," she said, flipping through the referral letter from the principal's office.
"Please take a seat," she gestured towards the chair and offered Mark a glass of water. "Take a deep breath and tell me about yourself. Don't hold anything back," she encouraged him as they settled in for the session. Mark opened up to her, sharing everything from his love for computers to the divorce of his parents. By the end, he felt lighter, as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
"Mr. Mark, there's no need to worry. The good thing is that you've come at the right time. You don't need any medication, but I will give you some exercises to improve your concentration, reduce anxiety and procrastination, and increase your interest. Here's a journal sheet that you need to fill out every day before going to bed. If you forget, do it as soon as possible the next day. This will help us gauge your emotions and mood, so we can correct any problems sooner," she explained with a gentle smile.
Mark took the advice seriously and diligently practiced the mental exercises that were given to him. In no time, he got a grip on his emotions and mood swings. He no longer acted grumpily and became an active participant in his classes. His grades in other subjects also started to improve gradually.
As time passed, Mark graduated from school with flying colors. He went on to become a successful entrepreneur and earned several rewards and recognitions for his contributions to the field. But amidst all of this success, Mark never forgot about the life-changing summons to the principal's office.
It was the friendly and pragmatic approach of the principal that helped Mark win over his shortcomings and excel in life. The support and guidance he received helped him to transform himself into a better version of himself. Mark's success story is a testament to the power of a friendly and pragmatic approach in bringing about positive changes in people's lives.