My state of unemployment has taken a drastic turn in the past few weeks. I now found myself completely and dispassionately employed. A freeloader in Chapel HIll-Carrboro no longer, I have revitalized the local community by harnessing the coveted double-threat of substitute teacher and Trader Joe's worker.
To put it bluntly, substitute teaching is absurd. My first position was at East Chapel Hill high on Monday and Tuesday, substituting for a regular and honors biology teacher that was gone at a conference. I, unhealthily eager to get my first taste of money, was thwarted on the first day, March 1st, by 3 inches of snow. Tuesday began with a two hour delay, but I arrived ready to work at 10:45. Any anxiety of actually having to accomplish anything was quickly erased when I discovered that the teacher's teaching assistant was going to be there and teach the class. She informed me that my duties during the honors biology classes would be to simply stay awake and sit in the classroom, which I did flawlessly. The students continued a respiration lab and I sat in the teacher's chair and attempted not to stare too intently at the students. The TA even forgot to introduce me, and I, lacking any sort of courage, decided not to introduce myself either. The only acknowledgement I had from the students was when an outspoken girl blurted out if I was the TA's boyfriend. I secretly enjoyed the mortification on the TA's face as she blushed and denied the claim. I, of course, said nothing.
I quietly ate carrots during lunch and played scrabble on the computer as the other teachers around me warned me of the 9th grade biology students that would be entering later. They were wild and uncontrollable they said, and I was going to actually be needed. The TA told me to walk around the class and make sure the students stayed on task, so I did just that. Three hoodlums, there is no other word for them, except Blossoming people who scare the hell out of me, were determined to leave the class and never come back, and I was more than willing to oblige them. One came up and informed me that he was going to the bathroom. Not asking, telling. When I stared at him for a bit too long, he reared back his shoulders and jutted his jaw out at and said "What! You ain't gonna do nothing." "You're right! Go ahead!" I said.
I was happy to see the hoodlums leave, as I was needed to attend to the various missles being projected around the room. One boy was attempting the most antiquated trick of all, spearing a pencil into the ceiling. I advised him to sharpen it and go over to the other side of the room so that I could pretend I didn't see him. The students were supposed to be working on a research project concerning genetic diseases. The only enriching moment of the day came when I was talking to one of the kids in the hemophilia group. For some reason we were talking about AIDS, and he had a very interesting argument, something I believed was impossible in the class. He, unprovoked, soliloquized on his AIDS belief. He argued that in a couple where one person infects the other, the only one who should receive treatment is the victim, not the one who did the infecting. But, I guess the flaw in this is that the one doing the infecting was infected himself at one point, and was a victim at one point. But to hear this kid consider the morals of such a situation was refreshing.
As the day came to a close, the teacher I was subbing for came back. After a little chatting, she informed the TA and myself that in fact the conference had been canceled due to the late start, and that her boss had called her telling her that it was too late to cancel the substitutes so she had a free day off. She went shopping.