Sandra Scott, a first-year English teacher from Tales Out Of School by Shirley Ann Howard

Bertram: In Tales Out of School, you come across as bright, attractive, and personable, Sandy. Why all the self-doubt? 

Sandy: I don’t think I have self-doubt. I just question everything . . . three times. I learned it from my mother; it pervades all areas of my life. 

Bertram: In what way? 

Sandy: I prepare for my classes as if I’m rehearsing for Broadway and lie awake at night worrying about my students. Andrea is in over her head with boys at age fourteen. Rico’s chronic absence is putting him at risk for failure. And homework, I’m not at all sure what to do about that. 

Bertram: Homework completion is a problem? 

Sandy: Mega. I try to encourage the kids as much as possible and refuse to be critical like my mother. It’s important to me to maintain a good relationship with them. I like the kids and I enjoy teaching them, but they could learn so much more. There’s a whole world waiting for them, if they would put in a little time outside of class. Lenny tells me I’m doing fine and urges me to relax. He’s another problem. He’s crazy about me, but . . . we won’t even get into my relationship with him. 

Bertram: Why not? What more could you possibly want? 

Sandy: I want him to want me . . . more often than he apparently does. He gets busy with his work and doesn’t even feel the need to call me. 

Bertram: When he’s with you, does he show love and affection? 

Sandy: Sure, but is that what our relationship is about? Off the planet sex? I’m looking for commitment . . . dare I say it? Marriage. 

Bertram: And Lenny is looking for? 

Sandy: A Ph.D. in Biochemistry. He’s totally immersed in his dissertation right now, a study of speeding up the regeneration process in certain ocean species. It’s time-consuming and difficult work, I appreciate that, but he could at least call. I lie awake at night worrying about him. It seems every time we go somewhere together, a minor catastrophe erupts. Like the time we went on the deep water excursion to collect specimens in November. Skiing in New Hampshire with him is always an adventure. Then there was the time we went to Montana; he actually had the nerve to tell me about Cindy there. 

Bertram: It sounds like you’ve been involved with him a long time. 

Sandy: I first met him when I was a freshman in college . . . by the buffet table at an awards reception in his honor. I was there to interview him for the university newspaper. He caught me when I slipped on a chunk of pineapple someone had dropped on the floor. The next thing I knew I was in his arms, our eyes met, his musk made me dizzy… you know the story. And if you don’t, you can check it out at