Monday, December 10, 2012

I Need to Dump on You

This post will offer you a glimpse of teaching today.  Yes, it will be another downer post today.  I am suffering a cold, so I took a nap yesterday, and it helped, for a bit.  Today, I was observed, and, although I am always prepared as a professional, it is always a stressful experience.  Whether by design, or by an especially faithful application of Murphy's Law, I am always observed with my worst class.  Another perverse contrivance of observations is that the class unfailingly acts like attentive, academically-minded angels while there is another adult in the room, so that when I inform them about the class' poor performance, the administrator who observed them and me will respond how they weren't as bad as I portrayed them.   I think it went well, but, unsurprisingly, I've been preoccupied lately.  So, who knows how it went?

After my observation, I forgot to eat lunch.  Did I mention that I have been preoccupied lately?  I also forgot that I forgot to eat lunch, so when I didn't have the energy for my second class, I chalked it up to my cold.  That class didn't go very well.  But, the nadir of my day was to come next, during a coverage.  A coverage is an "emergency" (it never really is an emergency, but it's supposed to be) where a teacher needs someone to cover for them.  And, it's always a horrible experience for the coverage teacher, because the kids just have to test you.  I started out telling them two things: stay in your seats, and no one can go to the bathroom because it was last period and my school locks the bathrooms last period.  It's not my rule.  So, of course, they were running everyone, hiding under desks, and I do believe that not one student failed to ask to use the bathroom.  One girl got up and when I told her to sit down, she had the nerve to tell me that she had to throw out her gum (again, a school no-no) because it had lost its flavor.  Another girl was using her cell phone (wouldn't you know it, not allowed?), and wouldn't turn it over when I requested it.  Okay, that's a call to the dean.  So far, nothing out of the ordinary, unfortunately.

Wasn't it me who was
 just saying how kids
are no longer cute at
a certain age
I'm building up the scene now, so here comes the clincher.  None of this misbehavior and disrespect can touch the next boy who asked to use the bathroom.  Nevermind that I told the whole class no bathroom.  Nevermind that it is school policy and he's been in the school for three years at least.  This boy responded to my "no" with "but I have to take a dump".  I have never, in ten years of teaching, been so instantaneously disgusted and infuriated with a child.  And, of course, as a sub in this new teacher-bashing environment, I have no immediate recourse. I have to I tell my own students at the beginning of the year to not bother asking last period, and that "it's an emergency" will not change the policy.  I even have to go as far as letting the ladies know that "I have my period" will not do the trick.  Yes, children in middle school will use these exact lines to a teacher, even after explicitly telling them not to.  But this ill-bred boy kicked it up a notch, let's just say.  When I asked him if he had any manners, he pretended to not hear me. 

Even though I was a substitute, I will find this vulgar child's parents, and he will explain to them exactly what he said.  And, I'm sure they will shrug and, given his poor upbringing, I assume they will turn the tables on me and ask if I let him go since he was obviously in such distress.  I know it will get me nowhere, and yet, I cannot let it go.  These are the children that I'm supposed to teach fractions, and they haven't yet learned basic civility and courtesy.  It was a very disheartening day.  Thank you for letting me "dump" on you!  That feels better.

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