Substitute Teaching: Kind Class, Rough Joe ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, September 23, 2005

Substitute Teaching: Kind Class, Rough Joe

Today’s work was almost monotonous in its simplicity.

I arrived at my subbing assignment precisely on time, took only a few wrong turns en route to “my” office, and began scanning my lesson plans. Too late did I learn that I was supposed to be on assignment in the cafeteria, keeping an eye on students during a (dangerous?) ten-minute stretch prior to the first bell.

If the school really wants subs to perform such tasks, the front office should escort said sub to his assigned office and hand him a memo with the immediate instructions highlighted, in ALL CAPS, and preferably marked “Urgent!” As it was, after finding the right room, unearthing the lessons plans, and deciphering their cryptic instructions, the ten-minute period was already over. I felt awful, of course.

A few minutes later, an interesting plot line materialized when Mrs. Green from next door came in, looking for Mr. Owens' (my namesake) coffeemaker. Apparently he supplied the daily grind for most of the neighboring staff and several lucky students. Considerable time and effort was invested in the search for the hidden appliance, but Mr. Owens had apparently cared enough for the machine’s longevity to conceal it well. Having missed my own coffee that morning, I felt Mrs. Green’s disappointment keenly.

It was about an hour later when an enterprising and sleepy student took the search into his own hands, and discovered the coffeemaker concealed inside one of the room’s numerous art supply closets. Instantly, the atmosphere brightened. Although I had my reservations about the quality of the beans, the innervating aroma began to waft through the classroom at a timely moment.

According to my lesson plans, the next class would be a real challenge. Apparently they were guilty of slipping into a kind of melee mode where a teacher could be caught up in the interpersonal frenzy and trampled to death—or at least badgered into irrelevance. “Don’t take any LIP!” warned Mr. Owens’ notes. Armed with a cup of the unknown brew, I prepared myself to do whatever necessary to avoid ignominy.

As it turned out, things went better and worse than expected. The class was ridiculously easy to work with and the coffee was awful. I watched the “trouble” students stream out the door, looked at the half-full mug on my desk, and felt a melancholic satisfaction.

After my final class, I left the high school and walked a block to a nearby coffee shop where I made compensation for my earlier disappointment. Sipping a talle latte, I felt that the day’s one unsatisfactory point had been addressed.

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Andrew Simone said...

It is important to have caffinated consolation after such a day. I also klnow how much said latte is for students of our ilk. Your lack of money (assumed from the wallet incident posted earlier) makes the latte sipping infinitely more dramatic.


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