So it’s been a little while since I’ve written about my adventures as a New York City substitute teacher. Believe me, I could write two of these posts a week; subbing is a lot of things, but boring isn’t one of them.
Some recent musings/anecdotes from life in the “trenches:”
— Maybe my favorite moment lately came about two weeks ago, when I was subbing in one of my favorite schools. After once again asking an 8th-grade boy to quiet down and actually do the work I had given him, he looked me in the eye and said: “Mr. Lewis, lemme ask you a question. When you were our age and you had a substitute teacher in class, did you actually do work, or did you goof off with your friends?”
I started laughing and said “I plead the Fifth.” I mean, how could I tell the kid the truth?
— A couple days before that while subbing at a special ed 6th grade class, I had a student come up to me at the end of the day and put out his hand, all serious-like and say “Mr. Lewis, thank you for your service.” Hey, someone’s got to go looking for land mines, right?
— One thing I’m fascinated by, and it happens in just about every class, are the 2-3 kids who are trying to help me out and also get their work done, because they’re good students. And they look around at the class clowns and other uninterested adolescents and try to control them, or at least roll their eyes at me, basically saying “Can you believe these kids?” I sort of feel bad for these students, because they want to learn, but the rest of the class won’t listen.
— You pick up all kinds of gossip as a teacher, but unfortunately as a sub, I have no idea what any of it means, because I’m only there one day and then I’m gone. Still, it’s fun to invent stories based on what you hear!
**Spent some time Wednesday night talking hoops at an author’s book event with a die-hard UNC fan; in fact, my new friend Reed Tucker is an writer who wrote a book titled “Duke Sucks: A Completely Evenhanded, Unbiased Investigation into the Most Evil Team on Planet Earth”
Anyway, we argued all in fun, and I’m thinking even though he hates Duke, he’d get a kick out of this video. A Michigan high school team, Hudsonville High School, was down by a bucket in the final few seconds of a playoff game on Tuesday night, so they tried the old “Christian Laettner-Grant Hill Duke 1992 miracle shot.”
And what do you know, it worked, and Hudsonville went on to win in OT.
One week from today, baby, the Madness truly begins. I can’t wait.
**So as a Jewish guy I realize I don’t have a dog in this fight, but am I the only one kinda underwhelmed by the announcement of a new Pope? All we heard for the last few weeks was that the new Pope had to be younger, more dynamic, more of a reformer, more socially aware, yada yada yada.
And then the white smoke goes up Wednesday afternoon and who get the gig and now gets to ride the Popemobile? A 76-year-old from Argentina, the new Pope Francis I.
And oh by the way, the new guy, Jorge Bergoglio, has some shady things in his past as well; he apparently hid political prisoners in Argentina from a human rights group that was visiting.
And he also never condemned a preist who, under his authority, was convicted of seven homicides and 40 torture sessions.
I don’t know, maybe Pope Francis really will be a reformer, and do lots of great things to bring the Catholic Church into, I don’t know, the 20th Century.
But being that he’s 76, aren’t we going to need another new pope pretty soon?