Monday, August 25, 2008


This morning as I cued up '1776 The Musical' for the first of a scheduled six times, I tried to get to a mental place where I could resist the repeated assault of witty colonial era show tunes on my sanity. Then Ms. Murray walked in the door, back early from the out of town funeral she had to attend. It was like getting a last minute call from the Governors office.

Ms. Murray's unanticipated early return made for a very easy day for me. A few classes, a long lunch, plenty of relaxing and not a single big musical number.

The downside? I guess I'll never know if John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were successful in righting a convincing Declaration of Independence.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Special Kind of Hell

Most people think of subbing as writing your name on the black board, popping a movie in VCR and waiting for the bell to ring. It sounds like a pretty easy gig, and don't get me wrong, it can be.

The thing most people don't consider is that the average teacher has six or seven classes a day. So if the teacher wants to you to play a movie for the kids, you have to play it at least 6 times a day. Then realize that a class period is only 50 minutes long. So at the end of the day you have watched the first 50 minutes of a movie six times.

Its like working at FAO Schwartz during the Christmas season, you start to wonder how many more times you can be welcomed to a world of toys without blowing your brains out.

Today was day two of a three day gig for an American Government teacher. Her instructions were for me to play a movie for each of her six classes and have them answer a worksheet with questions from the movie.

We are not watching The Big Lebowski.

1776. A musical about the drafting of Declaration of the Independence. I shit you not, a musical. Starring Mr. Sweeney from Boy Meets World as John Adams. And its two hours and twenty one minutes long. I haven't seen the end yet but if you have any questions about the first 45 or second 45 minutes, I've seen them each six times.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Meet the New Boss

Despite the fact that no one in the district office has taken the time to flip the switch that controls the the St. Louis Public Schools Automated Substitute System to the 'on' position, I was able to get my first day of work for the school year. All it took was a 6:50am phone call to Gateway High's main office.

Walking in Gateway's front doors, summer felt like a long weekend without pay. Mr. Hammond the security officer was still reading the paper at the front door just like I left him in June. But not everything remained unchanged. Third period the entire school assembled in the auditorium to meet the new boss.

Dr. Brindly is the new principal of the Gateway Institute of Technology. She seems like she has her shit together. We were in the auditorium for almost 45 mintues and security didn't have a thing to do. I'd day She's off to a pretty good start.

Monday, August 18, 2008

With a Whimper

Monday August 18th 2008, the first day of the St. Louis Public School 2008-2009 school year. I've seen this date on television commercials, the sides of buses and mobile billboards driving around downtown. It seems no expense was spared in the campaign to ensure high attendance for the first few weeks of school.

Actually one expense was spared. The Automated Substitute System will not be up and running until Thursday. For myself and the rest of the substitute teachers employed by the St. Louis Public Schools, summer vacation marches on. And to think I went to bed at 10:30 last night. What a waste.