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 "crudit√©" 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!

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