A Wild, Desperate Post, To Be Taken Lightly
Math classes are the worst, because there is so little to joke about. "Am I a math teacher? No, but I took Algebra in high school." "If you have questions, let me know, but I probably won't be able to help you." "Why am I teaching this class? Because they were really desperate."
I get a few chuckles, because some of the kids are kind. But really, it's not very funny. I need more ammo. I need an English or Comm Arts class, where I can throw up a wall of verbal flack to disguise and guard my post-baby state: relieved, happy, and very very tired. I am grinding the gears. I am running on fumes. I am running on empty. I need a sign made that I can wear on my back: Fragile: Banter with care.
It's true. In the days since Asher's birth, I have not been able to come up with the witty repartee which students have come to expect from me.
Student: "Mr. V, are you drinking vodka in class?"
Me: "Uh...no. Those are plastic bottles of water. And they're not mine."
Student: "Hey Mr. V.! You wouldn't actually confiscate my phone, would you? You couldn't take a phone away from someone wearing boots as stylish as these!"
Me: "Uh...just don't answer it in class."
Student: "What's up, Mr. V? You're the cool gangsta teacher."
Student: "Hey, who is teaching this class today?"
Real Teacher, loitering in the room while ignoring my presence: "Well, today you have--a sub."
[wanting to say something that would express appropriate disdain, combined with dismissive humor, at being treated as a nameless object]
Towards the end of today's Math classes, I had pooled enough energy to make an effort.
Student: "Mr. V., in that class last block, did you happen to see a silver makeup bag? I think I left it in the room."
Me: "A kind of large silver bag? Left on the floor by your chair?"
Me: "I didn't see it."
Student: "Are you just saying that so I'll kill myself?"
Me: "Actually, I did see it. I saw it and I took it. But I'm sorry, I already sold it."
Student: "You sold it to buy drugs, didn't you?"
Me: "Yes, I did."
And you wouldn't believe how much it cost me, even this half-hearted, stop-gap attempt. As the student left the room, I collapsed in my chair, shaking like a leaf and gasping for breath. How long can this continue?
How long must I jerk myself awake with coffee in the morning, like a sleeper stepping into an icy shower? How long must I have bloodshot eyes which I explain temporarily by saying it is Halloween? How long must I think about naps in the same breath as Ethiopian Fair Trade coffee, Christmas, and the Final Four? HOW LONG?
OK, it's 8:35 p.m. so this discussion can be continued later. I'm going to bed for the first 45 minute shift.
[Photo caption: ONE of these men is well-rested and mentally sharp.]