Monday, March 2, 2009

The Jobs We Take

My girl Alton is one of the unfortunate people looking for a job for months since she moved to a new city. It's been discouraging talking to her since she has a master's degree, is a whole lot smarter than I am, and was reduced to tears in her last interview. Anyway, she has started substitute teaching and has sent me a few tips from her experience at the alternative high school. Couldn't resist posting them for you:

"Ten Things I've Learned From Substitute Teaching"
This title is misleading. It should say, "Ten Things I Learned From One Day of Teaching at the Alternative High School".
Actually, the term "Alternative" is misleading. It should say, "Spawn of Satan".
1.) If you show up at the school and there are six cop cars in the parking lot - do not assume they are there to do a drunk driving or highway safety seminar for the children. They might be there in an attempt to keep the assault and battery incidents to a bare minimum.
2.) When the children begin to file in for the first day of class and you instantly begin to feel like a wounded gazelle on the plains of Africa being surrounded by starving lions who can smell the fresh blood, its important to remain calm. Take it from me, hyperventilation and persistent sweating only serves to increase the lions aggressiveness.
3.) There is a red button on the phone in the classroom that connects directly to the local police department. When you push it once, an officer will report to your classroom within sixty seconds. If you push it twenty times out of sheer anger at the child who refuses to stop throwing Sticky Tack at your hair every time you turn your head, ten officers will show up in riot gear with tear gas. Rookie mistake.
4.) Choose your words wisely. When you use the phrase, "I'd like everyone to please take their seats" the students hear that as, "I'd like everyone to ignore me and continue on beating each other with yard sticks."
5.) When passing out papers it is important to have a detailed game plan. Handing the papers out one at a time only allows the first students with the paper to tear it up into shreds, climb atop the teachers desk and "Make it Rain". This can be avoided by not handing out any papers. Ever.
6.) At lunch time, when the Office Secretary tells you it is your day to do the cafeteria monitoring, she's lying. The other teachers are just trying to take advantage of your naivete. Lunch time duty can easily be avoided either by cowering behind the desk or sitting in a bathroom stall to eat your lunch. Do not attempt to race to your car via a side exit door. They are hooked up to the emergency alarm system. FYI.
7.) It is important that you maintain a "Teacher Face" at all times. You can practice this in the mirror at home on your free time. This way, when a student refers to you as a "dirty bitch" and remarks that he'll be surprised if you survive the day - you don't immediately start to weep.
8.) Draw a line between teachers and students by staying out of student conversations. Especially if you have nothing to offer when students are discussing their most recent felony charges. It will only cement their opinion of you as a total pussy when you tell them that one time, thirteen years ago you got caught drinking Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers under the deck by your mom.
9.) Try not to think too much about the series of terrible, costly mistakes that you have made in your life that have landed you here. How can I be expected to stop fifteen future felons from beating each other with their Science textbooks while blaring Young Jeezy from someone's Ipod and trying to escape through the half-open window in the back of the room? I majored in history.
10.) Dangerous Minds was a cruel, cruel joke. Real life has far less Coolio.



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