Friday, September 17, 2010

High school kids are still mean to subs, fyi

My brain is still a little bit numb from the overwhelming experience of starting work again, in a new CMO, a new city, a new neighborhood. Oh and I subbed for ninth grade yesterday!

The question I keep getting from friends and family is simply "how was ninth grade?" And I'm not sure why anyone is so shocked to hear that I really did not like it. But let me tell you some of my stories and you can decide for yourself if you think subbing high school is something to be enjoyed or survived.

My first two classes were both 2 hour blocks, 9th grade English. The students came in the room so loudly that I almost stood on my tiptoes and shouted before I realized that I was actually still the teacher. I thought it would have been demeaning to ask them to "show me 5 if you can hear my voice" or touch their nose or put both hands on their heads. Actually come to think of it they might have thought I was trying to arrest them if I asked them to put their hands on their heads. And, call it my really good instincts if you must, but I knew that this, if ever, was not the time to go on a bear hunt. So I spoke loudly and asked for their attention, waited, asked, waited, demanded, waited, scolded, waited, called out individuals, waited... basically did everything wrong. I hate teenagers. At some point in between my first and second blocks I heard shattering glass, but didn't immediately find out what it was.

I taught a lessons about facts/opinions and ethos/pathos/logos and because I was bored from teaching the same lesson 4 times, I made two kids get into a real argument made the others classify their arguments. Do you know how long high school lessons are? I had 120 minutes for that stupid block! Can you imagine doing only one subject for 120 minutes? Poor kids! No wonder the girls started pulling out their mascara and eyelash curlers. And ask to go to the bathroom every five minutes. And pass notes that were folded and sealed with lipstick kisses but claimed to be "math homework".

FYI, if you make girls put away their makeup, and tell someone they can't go to bathroom on the basis of "teachers can't go either", and take away someone's lipstick sealed "math homework", you are not a nice sub. Actually you are not a nice person. The things they called me I can't repeat on this blog because if I did 1) google's profanity blocker would screen it from many searches and 2) most of it was in Spanish so I don't remember it. But I know it was mean.

Also FYI if you glare back hard enough at a kid who is calling you something racist, they'll shrug and say "but whatever it's cool." Did I mention I hate teenagers?

After a quick lunch I was requested to help co-teach with another sub, who was teaching science. Apparently the other sub was also having management problems similar to myself. After the kids were given a stern lecture from the principal, the two of us were left with them. Most of them had been in one of my the classes in the morning but had since decided that I was cool (or perhaps the principal scared them) and put their heads down and did their work. I also kept a glare on my face and did not smile the entire time. When someone shouted "That was the bell!!!" 8 minutes before the bell rang, and nearly the whole class got up to leave and the other sub almost let them, I almost cracked a smile. Almost. Instead I commanded everyone back into their seats and I threatened detention if I ever found out who shouted that the bell rang.

And so went the rest of my day. No smiling. No fun. No silly songs and no dancing around the room looking for letters or patterns. Just sit down and shut up and do your work. Turns out high school still sucks.

As I was leaving, I found out that shattering glass I heard? That was a kid being thrown through a window. The kid who threw him was permanently expelled within the hour and the next day (which I guess is today) someone on the waiting list will be at the school in his place.

Then today I gave my kindergartners a spelling test, but only after singing and dancing. It is going to be an interesting year.


  1. OMG! You are a strong woman! I was nauseous just reading about your day. Well done to you. At least you were able to follow it up with K the next day instead of crying and soap operas on the couch?! You never know when someone will have a position...and as they (who ever they are!) say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Great experiences for interviews, if nothing else, right? Have a good week!

  2. Thanks!! A few days later and I am still wondering if it was just a nightmare. You're right though, it is great experience and I feel like next time I know what to do differently (start handing out detention the second I walk in, haha!)