Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On Early Retirement.

I went to White Castle today for lunch. I sat next to four, very old, very foul-mouthed men who shared a table drinking coffee and telling off color jokes and stories. Their fat red noses jiggled disconcertingy as they laughed over exagerated stories of 50 year old indiscresions. They discussed the sexual applications of a pint of Jack Daniels and the price of tomatoes at the local supermarket. One by one they excused themselves to go home and take their naps.

I am more than a little tempted to start drinking coffee, get certified as a teacher and put in my 25 years, so that by 2031 I'll be able to pull up a chair at their table and start living the American Dream.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Nap Time Poetry Slam.

In the glow of the afternoon sun they sleep.
Heads on desks with crossed arms for pillows.
The flourescent hum of cheap lighting and computer fans
mix with sleepy breathing
and distant reverse alarms
to provide a lullaby for the prisoners.

I.S.S is heavy with the fragility of this tenuous peace.

Don't screw this up Mr. Awesome.

There is no way back to Eden.

Monday, September 25, 2006


The door is locked. The interior windows are covered. There are four students with sentences as long as 3 days. Welcome to In School Suspension. So far i've been in here for a half an hour and i've already learned two new curse words.

It could be the 90 minute lunch talking, but i kind of like it in here, anything goes. Its like we are the only 5 people in the whole school and sooner or later we're going to have to resort to cannibalism. Luckily Kendall has more than a little meat on his bones.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

That's More Like It.

Tommorow is a district wide Professional Development Day (no students = no subs). So Week Four goes down in the books as the first "one day work week" of the new school year. Life is great when you are an unattched sub.

I'am back at Gateway today, but free and clear of the ball and chain that was room 315 west. I've seen some of my former student in the hall today and they are none to pleased with my replacement. One kid called the new guy "Morgan Freeman from Stand By Me." I'm not sure Morgan Freeman was even in Stand By Me, but I could be wrong, it's been a long time since I've seen that movie.

I administered a standardized test today. I passed out #2 pencils, test booklets and answer sheets. I read instructions from the Administrators booklet. It was a pretty sweet gig. Look for this experience to make its way onto the qualifications section of my resume in the near future.

"So, Mr. Awesome, It says here you have experience administering standardized tests."
"Yes, Sir. It's something that I am very passionate about."
"Well, to be completely honest, we were considering several other applicants, but in light of your test proctoring experience, it would be foolish of me not to offer you immediate employment and a signing bonus as the new starting Shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals."
"Thank you so much Sir. You will not regret this decision."

Who says there is no future in substitute teaching?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Fondest Farewells.

"Students, today is a historic and important day. It is at once an end and a new begining in the miandering journey of your lives. Your three weeks of negligible effort and non-existent interest in highschool mathematics have hopefully prepared you well for the new set of responsibilities that come along with weeks 4-39 of the school year and the rest of your lives. I hope that you take away from our time together, not only the six major trigonometric ratios, or the quadratic formula, but the experiences we've shared and the friendships we've created.

Real life is different than the first three weeks of the school year. It's not about obsessing over personal responsibility, effort and success. Real life is about killing time, and finding ways to shield yourself from the spirit crushing monotony of contemporary existence. Its about playing the lottery, watching football and shoplifting. Hopefully, armed with the tool kit of knowledge accrued these last three weeks, you will be able to adjust gracefully to those challenges and responsibilites.

But never forget your youth. Never forget your sense of wonder. Never lose your ability to ignore even the most simple and begnin instructions. Never lose your ability to concoct lame outlandish excuses. Never forget what got you this far.

When the bell rings a few minutes from now that will be the sound of limitless possibility. The future is bright my friends (Pause to put on 80's style black Ray Bans) you might want to invest in some shades."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

End of The Tunnel.

My three week experiment in being a highschool math teacher ends tommorow. Mr. Miller really is gone, never to return. Ms. Forrest will be relieved to have her three beloved, heavily used math textbooks back safely in the bookroom. And Mr. Awesome will leave behind the work-a-day monotony of room 315 west and return to the beautifuly, unpredictable life as a day to day sub. The only real loser in this situation is the poor sap that ends up in room 315 west "teaching" highschool math with 34-minute lunches until that far off day sometime in the beginning of June.

What will I say to my kids tommorow in the moments before our tearful goodbyes?

"Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you're cool, fuck you and fuck you."

I don't know. If I come up with something better to say, I'll let you know.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Emergency Evacuation Plan.

In the event of a fire, room 315 west exits calmly and quietly through emergencey exit 9 via the west middle staircase. We are to assemble along the fence of the tennis courts and wait for the all clear signal before returning to class in an orderly manner.

In the event of a fire drill, room 315w west goes to the vending machine, shouts obscenities, wrestles in the hallway and staircase, and then stages an escape as soon as they hit the exit doors.

In the event of a fire, a sustained bell will ring throughout the school to indicate that all students and faculty must evacuate the building.

In the event of a fire drill, Ms. Corcoran will use to intercom to announce, "This is a fire drill, the fire bell is broken, please evacuate the building quickly and quietly."

In the event of a fire, Mr. Awesome will feel tranquil and safe armed with the knowledge that no inferno in the world that could create chaos equal to the bedlum that follows the announcement of a fire drill in a large public highschool.

In the event of a fire drill, Mr. Awesome will think, "Sweet, no third period."

Monday, September 11, 2006

"Room 315 West" Act 1 Scene 1.

The curtain rises on a barren looking classroom in a large public highschool in South St. Louis. The room is flooded with the sickly glow of cheap flourescent lighting. One wall of the classroom is lined with open windows. Outside it is wet and overcast. The rain has just stopped. There is a blackboard at the front of the room. Written on the blackboard in large block letters is:


Written below, in different handwriting is:

"Only good ones!
For example
I don't have a math teacher!"

In a back corner of the room behind an L-shaped desk sits MR. AWESOME. He is a young man with a patchy, ridiculous looking beard. He sits with his feet up on the desk reading a small old looking paper back novel.
A bell rings in the classroom and students begin to trickle in two and three at a time. Within minutes there are 28 students in the classroom. MR. AWESOME, seems to hardly notice as the sudents fill the room and it gets louder and louder. The students are talking about cellular phone plans and the television show Flavor Of Love 2.

Above the loud hum of conversation STUDENT #1 attempts to get MR. AWESOME's attention from across the classroom.

STUDENT #1: Where were you last time?
MR. AWESOME: I went to a wedding.
STUDENT #1: How come you didn't take me?
MR. AWESOME: I didn't think you were invited.

(ROSHEETA balls up a piece of paper and throws it out the window. MR. AWESOME sees it happen.)

MR. AWESOME (unconvincingly dissapointed): Come on now Rosheeta, Is that really necessary?

(All the students laugh and then continue talking. MR. AWESOME goes back to reading his book. 47 minutes pass. The bell rings for a second time and the students file out in groups of two and three.)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What Have I Become?

I'm ashamed to say that I have yet to miss a day of the school year. The ability to take the day off work if the alarm clock looks at you funny, Isn't that the whole point of being a sub? Why yes actually, that is the whole point of being a sub. The "problem"(and by problem I mean ridiculously amazing perk) is that subs don't work in the summer. So by the time the school year comes around again the average substitute's wallet looks less like a container for legal tender and more like a home for cartoon moths.

Summer break for a sub is a a lot like a long cold winter for a grizzly bear. Very relaxing, but at the end of it you wake up very hungry, even if you do live with your parents. So yeah I got sucked into a routine of working every day so that I could make a little money. My check gets direct deposited tonight and the weather is supposed to be nice tommorow. Don't count on an update.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Don't Worry, I'm a Substitue Teacher.

Week one is done and gone and here I am, still stuck in Mr. Miller's math classroom with one piece of chalk, one chalk board eraser, a box full of scientific calculators, one used "Advanced Mathematical Concepts" textbook, one heavily used "Algebra 2" textbook and nothing that resembles a lesson plan. I am supposed to have a third book for the Algebra 1 classes, but Ms. Forrest, the bookroom lady, is more than a little crusty and won't trust a new textbook to a sub.

There are a few things Ms. Forrest must not realize. 1. There are very few things in this world that i would like to steal less than a highschool math textbook. 2. The Algebra 1 textbook is so big and heavy that trying to steal it would be like stealing a gas station bathroom key with a cinderblock for a key chain. Except in this case the key is the cinderblock. 3. In order to become a sub, I was required to have completed 60 college credit hours, a T.B. Test, and an FBI background check. I'd like to think that not having tuberculosis would be reason enough to trust someone with a 9th grade Algebra book.