Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Middle school is not as much fun as Elementary school

It's not even 9am and I already know I never want to be a middle school teacher.

Well, perhaps it is different when you are an actual teacher, but subbing bites the big one. Put me back in the elementary school, please.

I was asked to sub for the technology teacher in a local middle school, grades 5-9. Cool, thought I, technology teacher is what I'd like to be. It'll be fun. So I accepted.

Little did I know but they have a sub police a study hall. The teacher gave me these stupid worksheets that weren't even like a fun wordsearch or anything. They had to do math to come up with letters, sort of like Ralphie decoding Little Orphan Annie's secret message "Be Sure To Drink Your Ovaltine" in "A Christmas Story."

I felt guilty just giving it to them.

The study hall is supposed to be quiet, but of course the kids don't know they are supposed to be in study hall, so they don't bring anything with them to study... and, I'm a sub so they don't give a shit... so they're noisy. For the most part it is boys who are noisy. The girls kept rather quiet until the last 5 minutes or so.

I got royally ripped off.


Puh-lease. Who wants to do a stupid math worksheet or their homework or study anything at 7:45 in the frigging morning.

What a waste of time.

One of the boys in my first class is an African national, and he was initially really nice and respectful. Then he started in with "Osama is my father. I am fighting to save him. I will kill Americans." The other boys thought it was funny.

I told him essentially that no matter who his dad is that I respect him and expect him to be nice, quiet, and respectful to me. I told them that I felt bad having to police a study hall, that I was fully expecting to actually teach a frigging computer class.

I said "This stinks for me as bad as it stinks for you so I apologize. But if you can just sit down, do some homework, talk quietly so others can do their homework, this will go bye quickly."

Then one big fat kid, they call him Buddha of all things, farted.

Of course he had to.

It is inevitable that 7th graders fart. A lot. When someone called out "Who did that? Who farted?" I said "I can assure you gentlemen, it was not I." "Buddha" then confessed to dealing the mighty whiff. This kid set off about 4 incredible stinkbombs in his BVDs that prompted me to ask him if he needed to go to the health center for medical attention, or, to the bathroom to check the condition of his shorts.

Well, that cracked those kids up to no end.

The African kid jumped up screaming and ran to the window to open it. It was pretty rancid... and I thanked him for liberating us from the stench and saving us all from becoming nauseous and dizzy. He said "I only was thinking of myself, I don't care about any of you. Remember, I am Osama's son and don't care. I only wanted to save my life!"

Whatever, shithead.

Regardless, he did save us all.

Now I have two free periods. Which is kind of cool. This school is screwed up beyond belief. They run on a six day cycle, but remember, there are only five days in a week. So today is "Day Two" on the schedule, even though it is the third day of the week. The schedule rotates around, and makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It is fucking unbelievable. I looked at this thing and was aghast. Where the hell am I supposed to be right now!!!

And the class lists are incredible. They don't put "Eight grade Technology, period five" or something like that at the top of the page.


It is on my schedule as 8032-5, but on the attendance sheets there is no corresponding secret code. I need to go find one of those Nazi "Enigma" machines and punch the code in and figure out which class list I should be working off of.

Good lord.

Anyway. My next class is eighth graders. Yippee. That's at 10:20 I think. I need to go decipher the cryptic schedule and determine if the stars are in correct alignment and sacrifice my first born in order to find out what room and what grade and which attendance sheet I should be using right now. That should take the better part of an hour...

Why not make this harder on everyone and require us to walk on our hands around the building? Who thought this schedule up!

Doug warned me... he knew about this kind of a schedule and said it used to make him kooky. I agree. Kooky's the word. So I'll be sure to write some later. I have a fourth, fifth and sixth period classes, then lunch, then 2 free periods. The day is over at 2:30. But technically I am done after 1:12. According to the directions I received, I'm not allowed to leave the building though.




Thank God.

Okay the Farting Incident was the worst thing that happened today. The two eighth grade classes were great. They used the study hall for study hall. They were quiet. But I am kind of freaked out by eighth grade.

Eight grade girls are either skeevie or total bombshells. There were four girls, obviously popular crowd girls, sitting together. One had a very large lollipop on an extremely long stick. She was probably a size two, had huge breasts and a tiny little hawaiian top on (today was "Hawaii Day" for spirit week. I wish someone had told me before I came in. I'da worn my coconuts). Her hair was long and ash blonde, and she had grey eyes.

She had braces too.

And she sat there licking the lollipop staring into space up over the head of the girl across from her. One of the boys in the class looked like he was unable to stop watching her while she did the lollipop thing. He was nerdy and wore a big Linkin Park hooded sweatshirt. I think he was undressing her in his head. And doing all kinds of things.

Hormones. It's a dangerous thing. I wanted to go in the hall and get the firehose and spray them both off. Problem is, they both would probably enjoy it incredibly.

I let the class do whatever they wanted, and a group of five boys sat in the back playing hangman and tittering and giggling away. "Is there a P?"


"hmmmm. A five letter word, starts with P. Is there a U?"

giggle giggle.


"is there an E?"


giggle giggle.

Okay boys, you've eliminated the fact that the hangman secret word is Pussy, so it must be Penis. Congrats. You are geniuses. I ignored them. I let them play and laugh and spell whatever words they felt the need to spell. At least no one was throwing food at me.

After my second eighth grade class, I went with Doug to his speech class. He was in the building today working with the kids in the middle school, which he does once in a while. He sees one girl twice a week who has down syndrome. She loves Doug. And for a half hour a day in her own room in the school, he gets to spend time with her reading books and working on her language. He said in October she was hyper, distracted and disinterested in doing anything. Now she listens to stories, has books memorized so she will recite the lines (I got to be special Guest Reader for "Gingerbread Man.") and she has a book of things that she gets to explain to visitors... pictures of her family and dog... I had fun spending time with them. And after being around some of the special ed kids with him I've got a lot more admiration and respect for what he does. Not that I was lacking in the first place. I thought it was a cheap trick that he got to sit around and play cards with kids... but I see why they do it.

And this girl loves Doug... so many of the kids do. He's great at what he does. So my hat is off to him.

I had sixth graders at the end of the day. I played hangman WITH them instead of letting them play. I stumped them with "Baltimore" in the U.S. Cities category. HA!

Then, the last period of the day is supposed to be a reading period on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I have no idea what they do on Tuesday and Thursday. But the teacher I subbed for has a class full of kids that he taught to JUGGLE.

That's right, juggle.

So they wanted to show me. And tried to teach me. It was a fun ending to the day. I get to go back on Friday and be the reading teacher's substitute, which means I'll probably have some actual work to do... which beats the crap out of making a study hall for kids who'd rather be working on their computers.

A few people have wondered about the interview I had yesterday afternoon. In a nutshell... it was interesting but doesn't pay a lot.

It pays about 17 bucks an hour, 30 hours a week, and summers off.

I'd be far better off NOT taking this job if it is offered to me and just going on unemployment. Reason being -- money through the summer. I would be unable to collect unemployment if I take this job. And unemployment pays MORE than this job does, once you add in the 2 kids (25 bucks a week each) and the allowance to work part time and earn 1/3 what you're earning on unemployment. I could make close to 600 bucks a week working 10 - 12 actual working hours.

But I digress...

The interview went very well. The guy really seemed to like me, the fact I had graphic design experience and knew how to use desktop publishing and web design software. The job is pretty much 50% clerical/office support and 50% the sky is the limit with opportunity to help define the role and help the office build a marketing plan and community outreach in many different ways. The guy who interviewed me asked me if I would be bored at this job because of the clerical and day to day business kinds of tasks. I told him that I would not have sent my resume in if I didn't anticipate some of that work to be involved, so I was expecting it.

The problem is going to be with the pay. It simply isn't enough for us to survive on, even if I get a part time job on top of it or Doug gets one.

Kind of sad.

It'd be a fun opportunity though. They are doing call backs next week for second interviews and want to make their decision during the week of the 18th so that the job can be filled by the first of April. If I get a second interview, I'll go to it... and ask if they put people on layoff at the end of the school year or not. If they do, that might change the picture for me. Otherwise, it isn't worth it to take the job.

Subbing makes more money.

Subbing and working for the catering man makes more money.

Unemployment and working one or two days a week through the summer for catering man makes much more money.

Anyway. Geoff really wants to play tic-tac-toe, supper needs to be undertaken, Doug needs the PC to write some reports. He just brewed me some coffee. So I'm going to FTP and get a move on. More tomorrow. I'm catering man's girl tomorrow, so it'll be a welcome change.


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