Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Subbing, Part 2. The Gangsta Profile

Thursday, March 5th, I subbed again.
Location: Carrboro High School
Position: math teacher, 2 classes of geometry, 1 of tech-math, 2 honors pre-cal, 2 study halls.

I was without a teaching assistant this day, and as I settled into Mr. Griffin's desk at 830 a.m., I felt self-sufficient and in control, with an arsenal of writing utensils and emergency contacts.

The geometry and honors pre-cal classes were dull beyond belief. That is the curse of good, responsible students: you are not needed. The lesson plan told me to assign classwork and homework, and for the most part the students followed orders so well that I did absolutely nothing. I sat at the desk and gave permission to use the toilet and told them that no, I didn't know how to do their homework so don't ask me to help you.

The only amusement in the pre-cal classes was overhearing a group of senior girls discuss their social plans. One was about to have a birthday, and the group was emphatic in their celebration plans: GOING TO PLAYERS. GOING TO DANCE. (Players is the skeezy club in downtown Chapel Hill for all you nwbs out there) I was startled, as it finally became clear to me that OF COURSE HIGH SCHOOL KIDS WANT TO GO TO PLAYERS, BUT OH GOD, WHAT IF I WAS THERE ONCE AND... OH... GOD...

The true thrills of the day arose in tech-math. Tech-math by definition is the math class you take if graduation isn't a foregone conclusion for you. Filled with mostly juniors, the problems were along the lines of 3x = 27, with the last, most challenging problems on the worksheet perhaps showing a square root. The clientele of the class consisted of kids who hated school, hated each other, and had a LOT of pent up energy.

The lesson plan was to have them do some classwork individually. This quickly devolved to me doing the problems for them on the board, as they screamed out obscenities and told each other how retarded they were.

The best part came when I asked one particularly rude kid why they all hated each other so much. His answer was simple and to the point.

"This a gangsta class, Mr. K. It's everyone for themselves."

My desire to be accepted reached it's zenith here, and as one kid began rapping Kanye West, "Go Hard,"

"I go the hardest flow so retarded..."

I couldn't resist, and cut him off to continue the rap, "I'm disgusted with myself, I mean uhhhh where do I start?"

This caused immediate uproar, and all hate towards me vanished as exulations and demands for my return as their Forever Teacher ensued. Next, they demanded to know whether I freestyled or not, which I responded to with:

"Asking me if I spit
Is like me asking if you breath
So believe my game is as straight
As your ruler, so don't call me Teach
Just call me The Ruler"

This brought the house down, and the bell, thank god.

Study hall was my favorite period of the day, as I was allowed to send some students to the library, while others stayed and did homework, and the others, my favorites, decided not to work but to talk to me instead. One girl talked to me about everything under the sun and I told her what I thought, or at least what she wanted to hear.

Other boys called me over to watch videos on youtube, which I allowed, as long as the door was closed and they told me what they were watching. The favorite, by far, was "On a Boat," which I refuse to post the link to because it is obnoxious.

The most challenging decision arose when two particularly annoying kids asked me if they could go to Wendy's. This was only 3rd period and they weren't allowed to, but both of them were distracting the entire class so I cut them a deal. I granted them permission as long as I was allowed to play innocent and aloof. I told them that the story was going to be that I had let them go to the bathroom and then they chose to go on their own. They accepted and they were gone. Unfortunately for them, they were caught in the parking lot and returned like vagrant baggage to their homeroom.

In these novice days of my substitution, I have decided upon my agenda. It is to follow the intended lesson plans to the best of my ability, but not if it compromises my coolness in their eyes. The chance that they are going to learn anything that day is negligible, and I would rather grant them an enjoyable day while seeing the wonders of a good substitute. After all, I am only 22, and can relate to them all too well and can still remember the vivid misery of an Evil Sub.

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