Lucian Parece delves into the mystery surrounding MEA.
October 23, 2015
MEA: a beacon of light in the dark, blustery month of October. Without MEA, we Minnesotan students and teachers would not have a single vacation throughout the month. But why do we even have MEA? This is a question rarely asked; who cares why we are missing school, as long as we don’t have to be there? However, we KE journalists have a passion for the truth, so this writer decided to ask the questions never asked, to find the truth about this shady vacation.
According to the MEA website, the Minnesota Educator Academy includes, “a full day of activities on Thursday and a half-day program on Friday.” This clearly is not very specific, so I decided to do some investigative reporting. But it seems that many BSM teachers never attend the Academy: senior high English teacher Ms. Tiffany Joseph said, “I would tell you what happens there, but I’ve actually never been.”
This whole MEA business was starting to seem a bit fishy: we miss school for two days, and nobody seems to know why, and our teachers don’t attend the “activities” or “programs.” I realized that I owe BSM the truth. I had go into the belly of the beast to find what goes on at MEA for myself.
So I donned glasses, a tie, and slacks and assumed the role of “Señor LP: high school Spanish teacher.” In hindsight, this wasn’t the best teacher choice, as I’m not exactly fluent in Spanish.
I arrived at the Saint Paul RiverCentre fashionably late at around 10 o’clock on Thursday morning, eager to solve the mystery of MEA (but not so eager that I missing an opportunity to sleep in). I walked in and stopped in my tracks. What I had stumbled upon here was the largest teacher-exclusive poker tournament in the continental United States.
Of course, I entered the tournament.
I found a table with an open spot, sat down, and began to play. Most of the teachers at my table were chumps, and I was cleaning up. But then, I heard a kerfuffle from one table over; who should I see, but senior high business class teacher Mr. John Sabol, winning what looked to be upwards of two hundred grand. He loudly explained, “Lord knows my students never pick the right stock; this tournament is the only way to keep Principles of Investments going!”
For fear of being spotted, I took my winnings and meandered over to observe a few of the other tables. I was shocked to see so many of my own teachers there; though they claimed to never go near MEA, they all seemed to have their own unique reason for being at this tournament. I heard “buying new Jane Eyre books” to “supporting my seven children.”
I was just getting ready to play some more poker and hopefully walk away with not only some new knowledge, but also a bit of cash, when I made the mistake of saying I was a Spanish teacher. See, I’m not a great Spanish student–I can barely pass a Spanish V test, much less speak with a teacher. So when asked some indecipherable question by one of my “fellow teachers,” I did the only thing I could do: I booked it out of there. Luckily, I was able to make it out without being caught. If I hadn’t, I’m not sure if I would have been at school this week, but that is a risk we KE writers must take to get the truth.