Friday, October 15, 2010

It's a Sub Life

So, here's something new! I am getting dangerously close to having a career. A career I might actually not hate. Still... career... Just the word alone makes me want to run. Quickly, in any direction but towards continued stability and commitment. Funny, because I really don't think I have commitment issues generally, in life, but... you know, A CAREER. Gives me the WILLIES. It sounds so final, so binding, so necessary, so serious... so unwanted and unimagined.

And I don't even know what I would do with my time if I didn't work. I probably wouldn't do anything good; I would probably feel like a useless degenerate who needs to stop being so goddamn lazy and grow the fuck up already. Yes, that is exactly how I have felt. Therefore, I am actually, deeply and sincerely, grateful that I'm now on a path towards having a job that is both challenging and potentially very personally fulfilling. But it is still a JOB... But there are worse jobs to have... But getting up at 6am and wearing a tie and shaving at least every other day because I have to, makes me not want to do it... Even though, secretly, I am sorta enjoying pretending to be a grown-up. That's what it feels like still. Like I am putting on grown-up drag and playing the role. All the world's a stage... in this act I'm playing "teacher guy."

In the last month I have been Mr. Kodish (Mr. K, if you prefer), professional substitute teacher. I have taught 8th grade science and English, 6th grade band and English, and math, reading, and social studies in kindergarten-4th grade. Well, not so much taught as took on legal responsibility for a room full of kids for $13/hr. You remember when you had a substitute teacher in school, right? Actual teaching and learning was pretty much a lost cause. I am now that hapless adult standing haplessly in front of the classroom in your memories. The guy students are happy when they see, but not because they like me. Happy because they know, in their precious little delinquent hearts, that they now have absolutely no intention of giving a shit about schoolwork for the next 50 minutes or so. And they pretty much won't have to, sad to say. I have accepted my haplessness. I can try to teach, and I do, but there is really nothing stopping them from not paying me the slightest bit of attention... what am I, a freakin' sub, gonna do about it? Give them a bad grade? Can't. Call their parents? Can't. Send them to detention? A free paid vacation. Oh well, it is what it is and I do my best to teach the kids that do want to still learn (if I have any knowledge to give them, that is). And it is all good experience for when I one day have a full-time teaching job of my own... when I will be able to establish relationships and mutual respect with my students and will be able to run the classroom the way I'd like to run it.

Now, when that time comes, what grade will I want to teach? I tell ya, middle school is pretty much a hormonal hell hole from hell, so I am not too sure I'd love to go there everyday. I mean, 8th grade, wow... what a bunch of assholes! I know, they're kids, they're just learning how to be human and how to tell an ass from a hole in the ground. But, sheesh, that is just a brutal age. I cut them as much slack as possible, I think, but dealing with them everyday may take more patience than I have to give. 6th grade is marginally better... they are still somewhat deferential to teachers and will still watch a Disney movie silently and with genuine uncynical enjoyment. The sweetness some of them still possess surprised and touched my cold, black, stone of a cynical adult heart. This was even more true of the elementary schoolers... there are plenty of little fat bastards (fat or not, it's an attitude I'm talking about) and shitheads-in-training at that age, too, but they mostly all still want to learn, at the very least.

Anyway, it has been quite the experience. The days seem to go by quickly and a lot of the students do like me, I think, when they bother to think of me at all. At that age, they haven't had too many male teachers, let alone semi-young, semi-hipster male teachers... so at least I got some kind of uniqueness going for me. In my mind I look like Ryan Gosling, except handsomer. But I think the kids see me more like Mr. Kot-tair... can't say I blame them. And I do dig the mustache, although I already have glasses, and two iconic facial accessories is one too many. I did use my awesome cool guy hat from San Francisco in the classroom, though! We pulled names to see who got to read aloud. The kids were much less impressed with the hat than I was. Damn kids and their cellular phones. It's a different generation... Up their noses with rubber hoses! 
Sub Life is filmed before a live studio audience.

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