Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My First Sub Job, Part III

There are things I would handle so differently now. Take Marta, who was in her third trimester of pregnancy. She wanted to eat in class, which I didn’t allow. Now I would let her eat, but I would make one requirement: None of those vending machine Doritos. It must be healthy. I’d even bring snacks for her if necessary.

I had one student who had to have his assignments sent to prison. He was 18, so he’d been charged with rape as an adult and his family couldn’t make bail. I don’t know his story, but he never felt threatening to me in the slightest. In fact, he seemed like a very nice kid. Only one student in that school truly scared me.

I never knew if Rolfe's instability was natural or induced or what, but I always felt I had to have my “spidey sense” tuned to his direction when he was around. Once it was not…and another student rested his long legs in the book basket under Rolfe’s chair. Rolfe lost it so badly that I was afraid of what he might do to the other kid.  I had to move his already-up-front desk positively next to mine so that I got the joy of being next to him every day.

As if that weren’t bad enough, he never turned in his work on time, so he got detentions with me on a regular basis—so I got extra time with him as well.

He wrote his final essay on why he wanted to kill a police officer.

(Next week: Part IV)

Conversation overheard between two ninth-grade girls while one was putting makeup on the other: “Just cake on the makeup, because I like a lot. Did you know you’re not supposed to share makeup with other people? I used to share makeup. But not really, because it was just Haley, Madison, Taylor, Brittany, Micah and Sierra, and we were all best friends. But I got a sty. It’s probably because I never washed my eye makeup off. You’re supposed to do that, too.”


  1. Wow! Fascinating reading.
    Thanks for all you do as a teacher.

  2. Sadly, among most of our clientele that would be a GOOD day.

    Critter Alley

  3. Thank goodness you gave us a laugh at the end. The beginning was scary!

    I see not only a Senior Sex(less) book in your future, but a modern version of "Up the Down Staircase" as well.

  4. Geez, you're a brave, brave girl--you know that don't you?

  5. Wow. You must really love teaching kids. Thank goodness for you and others like you. And I agree with Sioux - thanks for the comic relief at the end.

  6. I never wanted to kill a cop but I have wanted to a few to stop partying on my porch. :) Kids today scare me.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  7. Had a friend who taught at an alternative high school, and said a student wrote a paper on how she wanted to use a knife to dismemeber a person, joint-by-joint, knuckle-by-knuckle. Yikes.
    Oh the things you hear at school!


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