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2004-02-10 4:14 p.m.


So, now that I've reached this month's exclamation point quota, let's begin.

I've been working as a substitute for just under two weeks now.

My first two days were at a middle school. Which turned out to be one of the worst middle schools in the county. They have trouble getting subs to come there, see.

Another guy who was temping there that day had been working as a sub for three years already. When he found out it was my first day, he said, "Oh man! You're doing your first day at West? You're getting the baptism by fire, man!"

He usually does elementary school, which is apparently much easier.

Anyway, yeah. It was a bitch.

Not to mention I got to school on the first day to find that there was NO LESSON PLAN. The teacher called to apologize, but didn't have any thoughts on what I should have the kids do. Not to mention, the worst part about this school is that you have each group of kids for AN HOUR AND A HALF. Which is a hell of a long time to keep middle school kids from killing each other.

I figured something out, but yeah, it sucked really bad.

Then I spent all last week at high schools. High school kicks ass. See, the thing with middle school kids is, they're starting to think like teenagers, but they still act like little kids. They've got the attitude up to here, but they're also hyper little punks with non-existent attention spans.

But high school kids, man, they just don't care. They got the attitude, but the key word here is APATHY. It's marvelous. In middle school I have to be constantly patrolling the class to keep the kids from damaging equipment, other kids, and themselves. But with high school kids I spend 95% of the time sitting at the teacher's desk staring into space while the students do the same. Or work on their assignment or whatever. It's lovely.

But today I was at another damn middle school. Luckily it was only half a day. And admittedly it wasn't as bad as the other middle school. But I know I'm having a bad day subbing when my internal monologue consists of "son of a bitch!" repeated over and over for the duration of class.

The normal teacher was still there when I got there (he had to leave for a doctor's appointment the second half of the day), and he spent a half hour bitching to me about how much he hates his job.

It takes a special personality to be a middle school teacher, man. It's a thankless job if ever there was one. And the thing is, no one ever says they want to be a middle school teacher. People say they want to teach elementary or high school, but no one ever WANTS to become a middle school teacher. It's a tough rap, man. I mean, at least as a sub when I have a bad group of kids I only have them for one day and then I never have to see them again.

I hate the middle schools, but I feel I have a duty to keep taking jobs at them. I'm just not the kind of person who takes the path of least resistance. Maybe I'm a masochist, but in a weird way, I enjoy difficulty. I enjoy a challenge. Bring it on.

I should try out an elementary school sometime. That might be fun.

only happy when it rains,