A Room Full of Empty Students ~ BitterSweetLife

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A Room Full of Empty Students

It's twelve minutes after noon on a Tuesday, and I find myself in a strange predicament: I'm sitting here in the computer lab, keeping a careful eye on a room full of empty students.

Admittedly, I've had it easy before. Some of my finest subbing moments have come teaching subjects like Finding Nemo, Shrek 2 and Cool Runnings. I once spent a whole day playing kickball. But this... I hardly know what to do with myself.

Only four students showed up for the class. Then, one by one, they made believable cases for why they should be sent elsewhere: To the gym, for teacher-approved PE. To the library for a book report. To the office for a counseling session. The teacher's note said this class was basically self-supervising.

I didn't realize she meant it so literally.

Never before has subbing been so meditative, so calming, so therapeutic, so...quiet. I can hear the air conditioner humming. I can hear myself think. Twenty-five minutes to go.


This is creepy. The classroom seems almost like an alien environment. I feel like some warehouse manager, keeping tabs on an inventory of desks and PCs. Or like I'm walking outside time, a Traveler "exploring" the moment just before class starts and cataloguing its oddities—door open, lights on, teacher ready, no students. Or I'm shut up inside some unseen dimension just around the corner from normality, so close I can still hear everyone else walking around and talking nearby. Like I'm inside the school, but sealed off. Totally weird.

I kind of like it.

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Grace said...

Every once in a while I'd get lucky and sub at the fine arts high school. They were on a 4 class a day schedule, each class an hour and half long. Teachers only taught 3 classes a day, so I'd have a prep period in which subs were required to go to the office or library to see if they needed help. They never did, so I'd have an hour and a half of quiet. It was wonderful. I always brought my Bible, another book to read, my journal and my sketchbook.

I haven't written in my journal in ages. Blogging seems to have taken the edge off of the drive that kept me writing in it. I used to write long entries about where I was in my life during those subbing assignments.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife