Thursday, April 26, 2007

Friday! Friday! Friday!

Gateway High has finished MAP testing for the 2007 school year. The students took the tests seriously and performed to the best of their abilities. The administration figures that this calls for a reward. So each day this week, for the last period of the day, there is a special program instead of normal classes.

Tuesday: A concert by the gospel choir and jazz band.

Wednesday: A visit from the 104.1 FM The Beat Hot Squad, featuring performances by Young Dip and Ludy.

Thursday: Juniors vs. Faculty volleyball game.

Friday: Seniors vs. Faculty basketball game.

So far so good. On Tuesday as the jazz band was packing up their instruments and the students were filing out of the auditorium a flying white Reebok came about four inches from nailing me in the chin. And yesterday, the leader of 104.1 FM's hot squad questionably judged in favor of the boys in the battle of the sexes dance off. Sure, the boys were good, but i think 104.1 may need to invest in a new applause-o-meter.

I'm filling the teachers desk in ISS again today so I don't think I'll be attending the Juniors vs. Faculty volleyball game this afternoon. But my name is #10 on the faculty sign up list for the game on Friday. I wonder if the principal will mind if I teach teach in gym shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Moments in Our Lives

Due to a severe teacher shortage this morning, I was pulled out of my on going assignment teaching English and Journalism and thrust into the familiar role of in school jail warden.

A student in in school suspension is allowed to leave the classroom four times all day. Three teacher lead, whole class bathroom breaks and lunch.

During our second bathroom break I lead inmates numbers 1-8 down the hall to the boy's room. When we arrived at the 4th floor West boys room there were already three 'free' students hanging out. After a couple of minutes of pissing, hand washing and rough housing, the 'free' students had left and we were ready to head back to ISS.

As the 6th of my 8 inmates went out the bathroom door into the hallway, one of the 'free' students pegged him in the chest with an overfilled red water balloon. The payload was large enough that I received a fair splash from my position at the back of the line. The water balloon chucker joyously watched his balloon explode, raised his hands in victory and then took off sprinting down the hallway.

Another moment in the exciting life of a substitute teacher.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An Exerpt From Today's St. Louis Post Dispatch

"A substitute teacher on Wednesday, read the days lesson plan and started to show the students what was supposed to be an instructional video about volcanoes.

When the video tape began to play, pornographic images appeared on the screen. The substitute teacher promptly shielded the screen away from the students and immediately stopped the tape.

In a letter sent home to the parents of students in the classroom where the incident occurred, Orchard Farm High School Principal Timothy McInnes said, 'Although students were exposed to inappropriate material for approximately 15 seconds, this event demonstrated a profound error in judgement on the part of the regular classroom teacher.'"

A profound error in judgement? Talk about engaging your students...

Maybe the regular classroom teacher was just ahead of her time with her unorthodox teaching methods. After all, I doesn't matter which 15 seconds of porn you watch, you're going to see some volcanoes.

Friday, April 13, 2007


My main man Kurt Vonnegut is dead, no thanks to the years of cigarette smoking that he hoped would expedite the process.

I'd like to thank Kurt for writing the books that gave me many perfect days of substitute teaching. Every time I reported to the main office with one of his worn pocket paperbacks in my backpack, I was ensured that my next couple of days of subbing would fly by and be filled with hilarity.

On the day that I re-read Slaughterhouse Five for the first time since I kind of read it in high school, I found myself disrupting the very class that I was supposed to be in control of by bursting into a fit of uncontrollable laughter as Billy Pilgrim marched through Dresden in his woman's fur coat and shiny boots. The Students thought I was crazy for laughing at a book. I thought the same thing when I was in school. So it goes.

My high school had something called the Newman Prize. It was a contest in which every 11th grader had the opportunity to write an essay about the 5 living Americans they would most like to meet and why. The student who wrote the most compelling essay was then afforded, at the expense of the Newman Committee, the opportunity to meet one of the people on their list.

When I was in 11th grade I didn't enter the Newman Prize. At that time in my life, there was no one in the world, living or dead, that I wanted to meet badly enough that I would write an essay in order to meet them.

If suddenly I was to become unstuck in time, and found myself back in the 11th grade, I would enter the Newman Prize. Kurt Vonnegut Jr. would be at the top of my list.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Pointless, but Fun.

I didn't teach a single class today, and it wasn't because I was slacking. My job for the day was to escort a student, who uses crutches to to get around, from class to class. When the Principal told me that what I was going to be doing today, it sounded pretty important. Then I met Dave. I was about as much help to Dave as a lead ball and chain around his ankle. He is totally self sufficient and crutches from class to class faster than any other student, except the nerdy kids with the 50 lb backpacks that seem to be at their next class almost before they left their last one. Yet for some reason the St. Louis Public School District requires that Dave have an escort at all times. Dave's normal pilot fish was unable to attend today so they called up Mr. Awesome.

At 7:15am when we walked from the cafeteria to Dave's first period class I realized that I was totally superfluous. I asked Dave if there was anything he needed me to do for him. He said something like "All Ms. Collins does is follow me around." We understood each other. I wouldn't do anything except try not to embarrass him.

That's how I got to play the role of a high school student on the last day of school before Easter break. I'd show up to a classroom, announce to the teacher that I was "with Dave" and grab a desk. First period we watched part of The Fighting Temptations in Choir. Second period Dave and I had the mathematics section of the MAP test, I opted out of the test and read the newspaper instead. Fourth period we finished up Pirates of the Caribbean 2 in Ms. Bowen's class. Fifth period Mr. E had us do a worksheet. Sixth period was a free day in Mr. Pilau's class and seventh period we surfed the Internet in the computer lab until the front desk called and let us know that Dave's bus was early. Thanks for a great day, Dave. I'll be your parasite anytime.