Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Up Substitute Creek Without Any Bullets.

When I was a child I won a screaming contest at a community festival. Specifically It was a “mom calling” contest. The point of the contest was to teach children to scream for their mom as loud as they could if they were ever approached by a stranger. The results of the contest established which child was the loudest and therefore the most kidnapping resistant. That summer it was me.

Then I came back the next summer and proved once again that I was virtually immune to kidnapping.

I don’t know how seriously the Kirkwood Green Tree Festival takes their record keeping, but I don’t think its too presumptious to assume that I’m one of a few, if not the only, back-to-back winner of the mom calling contest. I do know for certain, that in my mom calling career, I’m undefeated.

Vocal amplitude is something that I take very seriously. It’s one of the main reasons I was able to make it so long into the 21st century without a cellular phone. It is also the main reason that I’m 25 years old and have never been in a fist fight

A loud voice ensures the respect and admiration of fellow fans at sporting events, acts as a life saving device for an avid cyclist, and as I am realizing today, is integral to my efficacy as a substitute teacher.

This weekend was among the most vocally taxing of my life. I went to a Halloween party, led a protest of discriminatory practices at a corporate soap box derby, and, oh yeah, the Cardinals won an important baseball game.

So here I am in the lion’s den without a tranquilizer dart. No voice at all. If things get ugly… well lets just hope there’s enough left to call for help.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Parent Conference Day.

I never get any calls to sub for parent conferences. I can't understand why not. For my regular $91 fee I would gladly tell any parent how deeply their children had disappointed me. For an additional fee I could even be convinced to tell parents that their child has a promising future.

But no, another parent conference day come and gone and here I am sitting at home listening to my favorite radio show and waiting for the Cardinals to win the world series.

St. Louis Public School Teachers need to wake up to the limitless possibilities afforded them by vast, talented pool of local substitutes. Not looking forward to that department meeting? Hire a sub. Lunch duty got you down? Call on a sub. I'll go so far as to offer myself as a sub, free of charge, for any homecoming chaperone jobs. Let me know.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rested and Ready to Mold Young Minds.

Sometimes you need a break. Sometimes you don't need a break, but you take one anyway.

Then you come back and everything is fresh and exciting again. The students are curious and well behaved, the chili in the cafeteria is rich and hearty, and the school day breezes by.

I should be able to bill my 10 days on the American interstate highway system as professional development days. The experience greatly increased my personal expertise in the geography of Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

I can't wait until the phone rings some dark, cold morning and the computerized voice on the other end tells me I'm subbing for a Eastern United States Geography Specialist. I'll change those kids lives forever.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mr. Awesome Under Attack!

It was only a matter of time before somebody sunk a shank into Mr. Awesome. With all my patience and passivity, its like I was asking for it.

Today I learned what it feels like to have my fragile, living body penetrated by cold, unflinching steel. It was alot like getting a shot at the doctors office. Maybe Steven is pre-pre-med and he has good reason to thrust thumb tacks into the arms of subtitute teachers. All things considered, he does have a pretty light touch. Here it is 3 hours later, he is on his way home for a lengthy suspension, and I have hardly a mark or any noticable discomfort. If he doesn't end up in juvee for this, stops stabbing his teachers, graduates highschool, college, and medical school, and makes it through residency then the future might look pretty bright for old "Soft Touch Steven."

Seriously though, the motherfucker stabbed me.

I love this job.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Can't do this Alone.

Even days like today, when I am in a well-equipped Biology lab, full of boisterous students, and models of human skeletons, hearts, brains, ears and even model of the human fetal circular system, complete with placenta, I am tempted to write about the Italian sandwich I was able to procure from a near by sub shop, consume, and return to class in 34 minutes.

Yesterday it was Pancake Rolls as a symbol of man's triumph over nature, the day before, dirty old men at White Castle and today an Italian Sub. At this rate it won't be long until I have to change the name of this page to "Lunching with Mr. Awesome."

I blame the students for my inadequacy at creating non-lunch related content for this site. Maybe if St. Louis' Middle and High School students could come up with something other than "I thought you were a student" or "He look like just like ______________" (Insert: Ashton Kutcher, Josh Hartnet, Chad Michael Murray or any other with white male actor between the age of 20 and 35), then I might actually be able to write something worth reading.

To be fair, I did have a student come up to me yesterday, look me in the eye and ask "Are we being Punk'd?". But gems like that are few and far between. And its funny whenever a student pegs me for a skateboarder and then has a conversation in an exaggerated surfer accent with "duude" for every other word. Sadly, that is something you have to experience in person to truly enjoy.

What I want is for kids to be compelled to tell me dirty jokes and to candidly trash talk their regular teachers so that I can then turn around and post a complete transcript on the internet.

The dark secret of substitute teaching is that you can't provoke the entertaining behavior you want from your students without ending the day with a massive headache and a bouquet of disapproving looks from various administrators, teachers and school security guards. The best you can do is put yourself out there with open eyes and ears and wait for a sign of life from the youth of America.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Countdown to Summer.

Middle School. Its the worst. But the St. Louis Public Schools Automated Substitute System has been stingy the last couple of mornings, so here I am.

Mr. Lowe has "Countdown to Summer 07" written on the corner of his blackboard. The magic number is 148.

148 days of school left this year,
148 days of school.
Mark me down, then let me clown,
147 days of school left this year.

At some middle schools the students eat breakfast during homeroom. This is one of those middle schools. On the menu this morning was "Pancake Rolls." What is a Pancake Roll? Imagine a breakfast corndog. Progress is an amazing thing.