Thursday, December 16, 2010

Child Abuse

That title is misleading.  Nobody was abusing children today.  Children were abusing me.  I got called in last minute to teach kindergarten.  I rushed through showering and making my lunch and got there to relieve the teacher who was feeling terribly sick.

There were six kids absent today because there is some kind of horrible bug going around.  Ten minutes into class, I was reading a story and somebody stopped me to tell me, "Brady is puking!"  I looked at Brady and he had his fingers in his mouth and was puking down his arm, all over his lap, all over the rug.  Endlessly puking. Gallons of puke.  It was so so so gross.  When he finally stopped, I gave him some paper towels and sent him to the nurse with a helper.  Then I called the janitor to come and clean it up.  He came in to survey the damage and one kid said, "Hi, Bob," then every kid said, "Hi, Bob!" and wouldn't stop saying it until he said hi to each one individually, but I think he freaked out a little because he gave up on that after about five kids and bee-lined it for the door which only made the crazy little bastards say, "HI, BOB!" with more and more desperation.  It was like a whole classroom full of Chuckie dolls.  Ask Bob, I bet he'd agree with me.

Hi, Bob, Hi Bob, HI BOB!

Bob cleaned up the disgusting mess, Brady went home and we got on with the business of kindergarten.  Things went smoothly until it was recess time and I was zipping jackets and when I was bending down to zip a girl's coat, she sneezed a very wet, productive sneeze all over my face.  ALL OVER MY FACE!  I wanted to shriek and dance around and say, "GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS!!!"  but I didn't.  I said, in a sweet sing-song kindergarten teacher voice, "remember to cover your mouth when you sneeze!"

After lunch they came back in and had rest time, which would more appropriately be named watch-your-classmates-and-tattle-on-them-for-not-resting-every-second time.  Not very restful.

I got through the afternoon without being too horribly grossed or freaked out until it was time to get ready to go home and I was helping them pack their crap into their backpacks.  Oh My Dear Sweet Lord some of those backpacks are gross!  I can't even tell you how much unidentifiable crusty crap I had to avoid while zipping and unzipping backpacks.  What is that stuff?  Food?  Snot?  Whatever it was, it was gross.  Hey parents, backpacks can be washed.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I need a new job

I think I need to find a job.  I'm really starting to hate subbing.  For one thing, I think that all the laid-off teachers have started subbing and are getting all the decent jobs because when I do get called to sub, the job description is something like this:

Job # 12345 7:30-3:45

-Start at Central High for Mr. So-and-so.  Teach 1st hour special ed. in resource room.  (question:  where the fuck is the resource room?) Teach 2nd hour Consumer Science (fancy name for home ec.) in room 153.  (walking down hallway, see rooms 152, 154.  There is no 153.  After walking about a mile looking for it because it MUST BE by 152, learn that for some inexplicable reason it is on the second floor. ??? Oops!  Clerical error!  We meant 253! lol!)  Walk in late, flustered and sweaty.  Read lesson plans and learn that you have to supervise thirty-five 16-year-olds making flan. (what the fuck is flan?)

-Go to STC (Where the hell is that?  Oh, it's across the 15 acre ice-rink parking lot?  I wonder how many times I will fall.)  Teach 3rd hour remedial math for Mrs. Whats-her-face in a freezing cold totally isolated classroom with 15 boys who look like they want to kill you and make your skin into a suit.  

-Drive to East High School.  Teach 5th and 6th hour  for Mr. Blahblahblah in room 353.  Yes, the school in fact does happen to be 95 degrees!  How did you guess?  BTW Mr. Blahblahblah is a slob and won't have any lesson plans for you.  Good luck!

-Drive back to Central.  Babysit an 8th hour study hall that has a student teacher.  Sure, it's a total waste of time but what do you care?  You're getting paid an almost poverty-level wage no matter what you teach so quit your bitching!

Or even worse:

Job # 23456 7:30 - 3:30

Any Elementary School: All day kindergarten.

(Actually, I taught in kindergarten yesterday and it wasn't so bad.  The kids were very cute.  I was wearing a red jacket and one little girl came up to me and said, "I like your jacket," and on the word "jacket" she poked me hard, dead-center in both boobs with her tiny monkey fingers.) 

I think I want to find a job that pays a lot of money, has low expectations, is part-time, where I won't have to drive around all day or get sexually assaulted by small children.  Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kindergarten = Insane Asylum

I am subbing at one of my favorite schools today, in the morning for a fifth grade teacher and in the afternoon for a kindergarten teacher.  Fifth grade was a breeze.  Fun, easy, rewarding.  I felt like I was really something special after that.  Teacher of the year!  

Then I came into this kindergarten class and they are slowly but surely eating me alive.  This may be the last thing I ever write because they are at lunch right now and I only have another 15 minutes until they get back.  I forgot how fucking crazy kindergarteners are.  As soon as their teacher left, we were doing an activity on the smartboard, putting pictures that started with S next to the big S and putting pictures that started with M next to the big M (easy).  They started arguing with each other about who was going to get to pick which picture, and who was in line first, and who got to be in line first last time blah blah blah.... pandemonium.  

We finished that awful activity and then we went to the gym to play Duck Duck Goose.  Total chaos.  The "it" person would go around the circle and touch each person's head and say "duck" but you could always tell when they were about to goose someone because it went like this:  duck...., duck.., duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, duck, Duck, Duck, DUCK,DUCKDUCKDUCK!, with each new kid getting slapped just a little harder in the head until someone got goosed, I meanGOOSEd!!! and then those two were running around the whole gym like a couple of maniacs, and the Goose person would go after the It person with such a vengeance that when the It person finally got tagged by the Goose person the It person usually fell on the floor from the sheer force of five-year-old excitement/gooseslap-rage.  Holy shit!  Calm down, people!  And THEN the people who were tagged were supposed to sit inside the yellow circle, but they wouldn't stay there.  If I turned my back they would slide their little bodies out of the circle and try to trip the Goose person and the It person when they were running around like maniacs.  

Then we had to go to the bathroom and there was almost a class brawl while they argued about if they are supposed to line up next to the wall, or on the black line.  First of all, I didn't see any black lines anywhere, so I don't know what the hell they were talking about, and second of all, just line the fuck up and shut your toothless little traps!  

And then we came back to the classroom and they were supposed to have center time.  It was total chaos trying to tell them what to do at each of the four centers.  When I'd go to help one center, the three I wasn't at would start yelling poop and pee words and laughing hysterically (it was kind of funny) and wouldn't do their center activity.  One kid had to sit in time-out because he instigated the whole poop conversation amongst his peers and whipped them into a poop/fart/pee frenzy.  (Kady, you would have been in hysterics.)  I have to go pick them up now.  Farewell...

I'm home now.  I survived the afternoon.  I have a headache of massive proportions.  After lunch went better than before lunch.  The most alarming thing about those little people is that they really like me. Why???  I try to be a hardass and make them a little afraid of me, but they won't be intimidated.  When I was standing in front of them when they were lining up to go to the bathroom, the kids in the front were petting my stomach fat with their tiny monkey hands, and telling me how beautiful I am and how beautiful my clothes are yadda yadda yadda, and when I walked them down the hall the line leader held my hand.  Then the fat kid couldn't get his pants unbuttoned so I had to do it, then he couldn't get them buttoned so I had to do it, and whenever I would turn my eyes away, another one was running away, or getting in trouble.  

One girl lost her tooth during story time and wanted me to hold up her disgusting bloody little tooth-stump and show the class.  Gross.  

The worst part was at the end of the day when we were getting ready to leave.  The teacher didn't give me any directions about what time to get them started, or her procedures for having them get their stuff on or anything, so I was basically winging it and gave them 15 minutes to get their stuff on.  About a third of the class was ready in two minutes and then standing in line causing problems, another third took about ten or fifteen minutes (and were causing problems while they were dressing), and then the last third were making me sweat because they hadn't even located their jackets by the time the bell rang and it was time to get on the bus. 

One kid said he was mad at his classmates for some reason so he just wasn't getting ready to go home.  Um, what?  I said,"YOU'RE GOING TO MISS THE BUS!"  He didn't care.  

But then mixed in with the utter chaos were moments where they were so cute I could barely stand it.  During their story (Over the River and Through the Woods) there was a picture of a woman rolling out dough with a rolling pin.  I asked them what they thought she was making and one kid said, "Cookies!" another one said, "Pumpkin pie!" and a third said, "Green beans!" another said, "Chicken!" which led to this argument:

Kid 1: You don't make chicken, you kill it!
Kid 2:  Well, if you don't have a chicken to kill, then you just make it.  
Kid 1: ...Oh, okay.  

They were talking about their class "tuwkey" named Albuquerque and they told me that he gets a new feather every day they are really good.  He had some really nice, shiny, foil feathers.  They really wanted a yellow one today, hint hint... 

Ha ha... revenge is sweet.  TFB, Albuquerque. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Substitute Teacher Orientation

I had mandatory substitute orientation today.  There are about 350 - 400 subs in this district and we all meet in an auditorium and have a series of 45 minute presentations by different departments.  Most of the information is completely irrelevant to substitute teaching, or to teaching in general.

The first 45 minute period was dedicated to learning about blood borne pathogens.  The gist of it was this:  no matter how badly you want to stick your hands all over the snotty blood from the kid with the bloody nose and rub it all over your cuts; try to resist.  It's not sanitary.

The second 45 minute period was dedicated to special education.  The presenter, Imminent Heart Attack, had a buzz cut and was built like a rock on toothpicks and he was wearing a polo shirt with a tie and he was sweating profusely.  I didn't really listen to him because I never take special ed. jobs.  Most of them would be fine to do because they are usually in resource rooms reading tests or whatever, but there is about a one in a thousand chance that I might have to change the diaper of a 150 pound severely retarded high school student.  To that I say, "no fucking way."  It's too risky so I don't take any special ed jobs.  Imminent Heart Attack kept talking about the "meat and potatoes" of special ed.  Judging by the fact that he was out of breath his entire presentation, I think he should maybe focus more on the "leafy greens" of special ed., or the "crudité" of special ed., or the "brisk walks" of special ed.  

The next presenter was Internet Hater.  Her official title with the district is Prevention Specialist and she is mainly supposed to deal with bullying.  The gist of her presentation was this:  "Kids these days........ (sad shaking of head.  Sigh.)"  Her main idea was how toxic technology is to kids and people in general.  (Ironically, she had a very high tech power point presentation to go along with it.)  She gave us anecdotal evidence like this:  "Three kids were set on fire last year," which got many ohs and ahs from the subs, but she failed to explain how it was related to technology (unless she thinks lighters are high tech), or where it happened, or why.  My feeling is this; there are about 6 or 7 billion people on the earth and if only three kids got set on fire all of last year, that's pretty good.  After her presentation she got TWO big applauses from the audience, which apparently means that it's not hard to whip a bunch of virtually unemployable teachers into a frenzy by vilifying the internet in general.

The next presenter was the district technology guy (Tech-guy).  (Ha ha, Tech-guy, you had to follow Internet Hater!)  Every year they have a technology presentation, to which they only allot 15 minutes because all he has to tell us is how to get on district email, but it is always filled with about 40 minutes of inane technology questions which are all slightly varied versions of this:  "I don't have a computer because I'm a total Luddite and I'm done learning anything new, and I refuse to jump into the 21st century because I'm not going to spend money on something I'm pretty sure is just a passing fad, and I was wondering how you are going to accommodate me and my ignorance and bull-headedness?"

This year the 40 minutes of Tech-guy's presentation was mostly a primer on how to use Facebook, stupid questions, and Tech-guy rolling his eyes and looking at people like "Are you fucking serious?"  It was my favorite part, just like every year.

The entire orientation is supposed to last four hours but it always goes long, mostly because of the stupid questions during the technology presentation, but this year there was a woman in the audience who, I counted, asked ELEVEN questions.  I call her Lispy the Questioner because she had a lisp and asked a lot of long, wordy questions like this:  "It'th been my exthperienth in the patht that thubthtitute teacherth don't get keyth to the roomth.  What are we thuppothed to do in a lock down thituation?"  But waaaaaay longer.  I started counting when she had already asked three questions during the blood borne pathogen presentation.

I listed Wet Head as a major player because I usually call her "Wet Head the Questioner" but Lispy took over that role this year.  Wet Head is a woman I run into quite a bit and I call her Wet Head (to myself) because she has thick longish hair that I swear she must not towel dry at all when she gets out of the shower because when she gets to school her hair is still dripping wet and plastered to her head, and her shirt is drenched.  She always has her arms crossed like she has a chill which I'm sure she does because of her wet shirt.  She' so weird.

So now school has officially started for me and the rest of the weirdos who sub in Duluth.  Have a great year, Weirdos!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm gonna be a Pilot!

Minnesota legislators are soon going to vote on a bill that would allow people with a four year degree, but no teacher training, become teachers!  You could spend four years in college, get a degree in underwater basket weaving and then get out and teach school! All you will have to do is take a 200 hour crash course in teaching.  (I was a real sucker for taking over four years to learn to be a teacher.  It apparently only takes five weeks.)

The second having to have a license or any kind of specific training to practice a profession is moot, I think I will try out all kinds of things, why not! I have a four-year degree!  I can do anything!

The first thing I'm going to do is become a nurse.  RNs  have four-year degrees, I have a four-year degree, therefore, according to the Minnesota legislature, I could probably do a decent job of being a nurse.  I want some scrubs.  I'm kind of squeamish though so as soon as bodily fluids come into play, I'm outta there.  Kind of like when I joined track in high school to get the cool sweatsuit, but then learned I was expected to run. Every day.  Yeah, right.

Then I think I'll be an electrician.  I use electricity literally all the time.  I'm an electricity expert; flip switch up: on.  Flip switch down: off.   I'm trained (enough)!  I have a bachelor's degree in education.  I'm educated.  If I'm educated, I can do anything, right?  All that's been in my way are these pesky licenses!

Need anything rewired?

Oh, you know what I'd really like to do?  Fly commercial airliners!  I'm sure that YEAR LONG course I suffered through, Methods and Materials of Teaching Secondary English will really help out with takeoff and landing. Once I get my job being a pilot, flying will be much more pleasant.  Trips go by so much faster when I'm the driver.  I have lots of experience driving a car, and a little bit driving a boat, and I actually took over the yolk (that's what they call it) in a small plane and controlled it myself once for about five minutes (actual flying experience).  I'm totally qualified.

Then I think I'll become an architect for a while.  I live in a building, I go in buildings all the time, I've built Sims houses.  I could do it.  I'm qualified because I have a bachelor's degree, and more importantly, I BELIEVE I could be an architect although I have a degree in English Education; just like some Minnesota legislators believe that anyone with a four-year degree can walk into a classroom and teach 30 kids.  Easy.

If this bill passes and you can do ANYTHING with your four-year degree, what do you want to do?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hellfire as an Educational Tool

I've been subbing in high schools yesterday and today.  For all you bloggers out there who have had comments from me two seconds after you posted, don't be creeped out, I'm bored and I'm just staring at Google reader waiting for something new to happen.

High school subbing is like war, or policework.  It's incredibly boring with brief moments of terror, then it's boring again.  Most of the teachers tell me to take attendance, then give them a worksheet and let them work.  Zzzzzzz.....  Excuse me, I AM a teacher you know, fully licensed and everything, I COULD teach them something.  Wait, what?  Math class?  Oh forget what I said, give me the worksheet.

Yesterday I taught at the good high school with the nice kids in the "bad" part of town and it was great, and today I'm at the shitty high school on the hill. It's amazing how schools with basically the same kids can be so different.  Third period seemed to last 47 hours because the kids were so OBNOXIOUS.  Not only that, but there was a newly-graduated-from-college-with-a-degree-in-teaching, middle-aged woman who was subbing for the aide.  She had all kinds of ideas for me for getting them to behave like human beings.  "Maybe if you tried [this]... maybe if you tried [that].  How about this: they know what they are supposed to do, I spelled it out in excruciating detail and if they choose to act like animals I will just write their names down and let their teacher deal with it tomorrow.

When I was a full-time teacher I threatened the kids with torture and grim death if they were mean to the sub. If I got a bad report, for the forseeable future the offending students were MISERABLE because their teacher (me) was an unbearable HARPY-DEMON FROM HELL.

You called Mrs. Larsen a What?

I would make them write letters of apology to the sub, then they would write humiliatingly detailed letters to their parents telling of their behavior for the sub (lots of good writing and rewriting practice), there would be a review of their contract for going to the school (alternative high school), there would be CONSTANT, IRRITATING reminders of how they acted last time there was a sub.  Sometimes after this happened I would come to school and tell them that I was terribly sick, but I didn't want to subject another sub to them (you know, because of what happened last time...) so I was just going tough it out (cough cough).  Too bad, because I really should be home in bed (cough cough).  I hope I don't get pneumonia, (cough cough).  And then I'd turn into the devil and give them a day so painful that they would have gladly pooled their money and paid any moron off the street to be their sub and treat them like royalty.

Don't you wish you had a sub instead?

It didn't take them long to learn that if a sub gave me a good report they were lavished with rewards and if not; utter, unending hellfire.  Usually just once.  Then I'd get glowing, wonderful notes about how great my classes were with every sentence ending with an exclamation point.  What wonderful students! How helpful!  How kind!  What a pleasant surprise!  Call me anytime!

I have two more classes today and I'm counting the minutes until the last bell rings.  Tomorrow 3rd Graders!  Yay!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Eighth Graders

Eighth Graders

This is the second day of subbing for eighth graders.  These are some of the best eighth grade classes I've had while subbing, but still, they are soooooo mean and obnoxious.  I am convinced that the 14 year old human male is the meanest living being on the planet, right above the Honey Badger who loves to eat beehives, scorpions and porcupines (troublemakers).

Nature's eighth grader

This is what I mean:  Yesterday during MCA testing, which is a big deal and has to be administered the same way throughout the state, the boys did everything they could to make it difficult.  Every day of testing the administrator is supposed to read a set of instructions to the class.  No exceptions!  It's like miranda rights or something.  I had to do it, but regardless of telling them that I know they'd probably heard it before, and please just listen patiently because I had to read it; after every instruction there was adifferent boy who said, "We've heard this before," and then there were a series of laughs from the other boys. 

They can have candy and gum during the test.  The school actually gave them each a piece of taffy and every time my eyes were off the class, I could see from my peripheral vision, taffy wrappers flying across the room.  Many of the kids had their own gum.  I can see now why teachers don't let kids have gum.  I bet I heard 25,000 impossibly loud snaps of gum yesterday. 

During the MCA test, when a student finished a section, they were supposed to raise their hand and I was supposed to come over and put an orange sticker sealing the section off.  There were a few boys who would raise their hands and then when I came over with the sticker, they would say, "I'm just stretching."  Then they'd do it again and again and again.  Why?  Just to be annoying, that's why.

The kids had two hours to do two sections of the test.  All the eighth graders in the building were testing at the same time and if they had to leave their room to use the bathroom, I was supposed to call an escort to bring them.  I told them before the testing started to go to the bathroom if they had to go.  None did.  During testing 8 boys (no girls) needed me to call an escort to go to the bathroom.  EIGHT.  And they wouldn't make it convenient for the escort at all.  She would come to get one, then when she brought him back she would ask if there was anyone else.  There never was until about five minutes later when she had gone all the way back to the office.  Then another boy would have to go. 

After everyone was done with the test, there were about 45 minutes left of testing time and I had to keep them in the room and keep them quiet.  I gave them a ball and told them to play silent-ball, which is a popular middle-school game.  They couldn't handle it.  They would toss the ball a few times and then one of the boys would rifle it at the class nerd as hard as he could.  The second time a nerd got nailed with the ball I took it away and made them sit down with their heads on their desks. 

I see now why wars throughout history were fought with teenage boys.  They would drive the adults crazy to the point where the adults would find a reason to start a war and send the boys off to fight it.  Did you know that Alexander the Great's father sent him away to school to learn from Aristotle at the Temple of the Nymphs when he was 13?  And knowing what an enormous burden Aristotle was taking on, King Philip, Alexander's father, agreed to rebuild Aristotle's hometown of Stageira, (which Philip had razed) and to repopulate it by buying and freeing the ex-citizens who were slaves, or pardoning those who were in exile. 

Aristotle asking Alexander if he's really done with the section of the GCA test, and not just "stretching" again.

That's almost a fair trade for tutoring an aggressive 13 year old boy and his friends, but Philip got the better deal.  My guess is that when Alexander was about 15 Aristotle was fed up, regardless of the deal with King Philip, and said something like, "Hey Alexander, the Thracians said you are gay," which, knowing how homophobic every teen boy is, made Alexander fly into a rage and he left to beat the Thracians down.

Alexander the Great, history's meanest eighth grader

I think the "Support Our Troops" idea is relatively new.  I would say it started about the same time soldiers had to be at least 18 to fight.  At 18 they are just starting to come out of that unbearably irritating part of life, and we'd be sorry to see them hurt or killed.  Before that happened I think the overwhelming feeling about the support of troops was, "Meh...whatev."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to make little children cry

I worked in a second grade room yesterday.  It was the first time I've worked in the younger grades in a long long time (except when I got suckered into a day of Kindergarten).  I'm used to the middle-school aged kid.  They are loud and obnoxious and have pretty thick skins.  I forgot that the little ones don't have such an effective resistance to discipline built up yet.   First thing in the morning, I was standing in the hall greeting the kids and one boy saw me and yelled, "Alright!  Sub!"  and then proceeded to be loud and obnoxious.  This continued on in the classroom during the morning meeting.  Their teacher's method of discipline is color changes.  She has a chart on the wall with each kid's name and a green, yellow, orange, red and blue slip of paper in the little pocket below their name.  Everyone starts the day on green, and when they need a correction, they are asked to make a color change.

After one verbal warning to this kid who was pushing other kids and copying things I was saying in an obnoxious (and kind of funny) way, I told him to make a color change.  He did, but he was unfazed and the behavior continued.  I asked him to step into the hall with me.  He had a smug little smile on his face that told me he had no plans of stopping his behavior so I gave him this speech, which I admit, is geared more to the hardened middle schooler:

"Okay J., let me tell you how it is when Mrs. Lindahl is your teacher.  I've already given you a verbal warning and a color change, but unfortunately your behavior doesn't seem to be changing.  If you get another color change today, you and I will call your mother or your father and you will tell them that you have had two color changes.  If you get another color change after that, you and I will take a walk down to Mr. M.'s office (principal) and you will explain to him why you are there.  Do you understand me?"

He nodded his head.  I said,  "Good.  When we go back in the room you are going to sit in your spot and be a model second grader for the rest of the day.  Do you know what that means?"

He shook his head.  I said, "That means that you will keep your hands to yourself, you won't bother the kids around you, you won't be sassy with me or Miss F. (assistant), and you will follow the rules how you know they are supposed to be followed.  Do you understand?"

He nodded and we went back to the room.  He went directly to his spot and quietly wept.

What do you mean, 'did you feel bad?,' of course I felt bad!  It was a bit over the top when I think back on it.  I should have been a little more mommy and a little less prison warden but let me tell you something, he was EXCELLENT the rest of the day.  I could have probably done without the chest-pokes and throat-slitting gestures.  Just kidding.  I didn't poke his chest.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hand sanitizer and young love

I worked in a fifth grade classroom today and I think I now know what it was like to work in a TB sanatorium.  About a third of the kids had wet, hacking coughs; emphasis on the wet.  It was gross.  I washed my hands about fifty times after watching one kid cough into his bare hand then come up to the front to hand in his paper and on the way he touched three desks, another kid's pencil, the teacher's podium and the Smartboard before I had to stop watching to keep myself from going crazy.  Now I see why all the teacher have a gallon of hand sanitizer in their rooms.  (I'm not exaggerating, hand sanitizer really comes in gallons.)

A couple of girls were chatting with me and one of them put her arm around the other one and said, "She saved my life."  I asked how, and she said, "The other day I was choking on a chunk of rubber, and she pounded me on the back until it flew out."  I asked why she was eating a chunk of rubber and she said she wasn't, it just sort of flew into her mouth.  (The playground is covered with shredded rubber.)  Then the life-saver girl told me that the chokes-on-chunks-of-rubber girl wants to be a stylist when she grows up and marry Brian, one of the boys in class.  The choker turned red after that and I think she wished she had a chunk of rubber to shove in the life-saver's mouth.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I subbed in a high school today. It was a pretty good day except that I have a giant scab that grows razor sharp, crystalline, bloody booger castles in my right nostril. Do you realize how much you touch your nose in a day? It's a lot. Every time I would inadvertently rub my nose my knees would almost buckle from the sudden excruciating razor pains. Then when I had a break I would go to the bathroom and bite the bullet and clear things out, but the booger castles would grow back within 20 minutes and then the whole cycle would start over again. I swear, those boogs were sharper than razors and harder than diamonds. There must be some industrial use for something like that.

All the pain caused flop sweat which made me realize that I forgot to put deodorant on this morning. How did I realize that, you ask? Because I was bending over to pick something up and all of a sudden I got a whiff something and I thought to myself, "Mmmm meatballs" and then I realized that nobody was cooking delicious meatballs in the middle of the afternoon in a social studies class, so on my next foray into the bathroom I discovered that my right pit had a smell that would be delicious in an Italian restaurant, but in my shirt, not so great. The right side of my body is disgusting.

Just try to keep your hands off this sweet package, Mitch.

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's official, I'm a mean and spiteful jackass

I subbed today at a high school (turns out I'm not sick, just a dramatic hypochondriac so disregard yesterday's post). I was working for an English teacher (hey, I'M an English teacher!) so I was thinking it would be a pretty good day. I walked in this morning and I saw that this teacher has a student teacher and I was thinking, woo hoo! I can read my book all day! Then I recognized the student teacher. He was in my linguistics class last year. I LOVED linguistics class partly because I was totally awesome at it, and partly because I really liked the odd little professor who was Korean -as in recently moved here from Korea. (He had a thick accent and one day he said the word "squished" but he pronounced it "squish ed," like two syllables and I right then I wanted to pick him up and hold him like a baby and now my favorite word in any language is "squish ed.")

So anyway, this now-student teacher was in that class and he was an ASS HOLE. There were only about 25 people in the class and it was in a tiny room. This guy would talk and talk and talk with his friend constantly, mostly about how bad he thought the teacher was and how unfair the class was blah blah blah, whine whine whine. It was a constant distracting drone to the point where other people in the class were telling him to shhhhhhh, to which he took offense and shhhhed them back. The poor professor didn't know how to handle it because apparently in Korea if you disrespect the professor you get caned or something horrible like that. (I'm not even kidding, I think there is hitting in college in Korea. Or else my professor was a liar, and I don't think he was.) I think the professor wanted to cane this guy, but alas, caning is illegal in the U.S.A. (It is, isn't it?)

So I put up with this guy the whole semester (and also destroyed the curve. ha ha) and then I thought I was free of him.

Until today. This morning, when I remembered who he was, I was interested to see what kind of a teacher he is, since he certainly had very vocal ideas about what a good teacher was last year. First hour was a prep hour so he sat down with me and told me about his lesson for the first class. And then he told me again in a different way. (I still didn't care.) Then he worded it a different way talked about it some more. I figured this was just his way of getting prepared so I let him drone on while I went to the bathroom. I came back and he still wanted to talk about it. I asked him if he wanted me to do anything because sometimes student teachers want help with classroom management (re: assholes), but he said he could handle it. He's been doing the whole schedule for two weeks, he told me, because he is so "capable." .... Okay. (who SAYS that?)

Then the kids came in for the first class and let me just sum it up by saying it was the longest 45 minutes of all of our lives. It was a teaching nightmare. I sat back and watched it happen because he didn't want help because he's so capable. I watched as he totally threw his carefully talked-about lesson out the window because a kid said, "I don't want to do that." I was secretly loving every second of it, hence the title of this post.

After that hour he asked what I thought. I said, "There are some tricks to classroom management that maybe you should look into." He said he didn't believe in "tricks" when it comes to teaching. I said, "HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA..... I'm sorry, wait a minute...... just a minute...... HA HA HA HA HA HA H HA HA!" Just kidding. I only laughed on the inside and actually said, "Well, not 'tricks' exactly, more like 'methods' that might help you out. Like saying the name of the kid whose attention you are trying to get." He said, "That doesn't really work."

The rest of the day was just as bad, with some brief moments of not being terrible, but one class actually disintegrated into a game of "telephone" which of course turned pornographic within the first five turns. In terms of bad teaching decisions, this rivals the time when I ran an alternative high school and one of the teachers asked me if he could take his class out to look for his dog that ran away that morning. Um.... no.

After school I got a mini-lecture on how it is important for the kids to trust you and respect you in order for them to learn anything from you. I was creeped out by the bizarro-world feel of the whole day so I left.

The part that makes me mean and spiteful, and generally an all-around jerk, is that I am still so very gleeful thinking of how horrible this guy is compared to how great he thinks he is, all because he annoyed me so much in linguistics class. And also I used the words "alas" and "hence" in this post and anyone who does that is a jackass.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Inventor's Fair

Today I subbed for a fifth grade class that had their inventor's fair so I got to see all their inventions and it was fabulous. I wish I had pictures. One kid invented a boot carrier that straps on to his backpack so then he would no longer have to transport his boots IN his backpack. He had a poster telling about his invention and it was so great. He had pictures of himself taking soaking wet, wrinkled school papers out of his backpack with a look on his face like, "Not again!" It was like an infomercial. He wrote about how he decided on what to invent based on what he needed. He said this is the second most important thing he needs, the first would be an invention to deal with his annoying sisters, but he couldn't figure out how to invent a "shutter upper."