Sunday, May 1, 2011

Substitute Gym Teacher

This fall I realized that retirement can actually get boring. So, having taught math on a volunteer basis at my old high school for several years, I looked into getting my teaching license.  I discovered that, at least in Nebraska, a substitute teaching license requires little more than a few hours of undergraduate study and a background check devoid of child sex crimes.  Having falsified my record on both counts, I received my conditional permit in a matter of days. 

It started out well, filling in for my former math teachers several times a month.  They let me teach their normal lesson plan, and the kids listened because I know what I'm talking about.  I also now have the power to issue demerits, which each count as a fifth of a detention. 

Soon, though, I started getting calls about substituting for other teachers.  I even got a call at 6 AM one day wondering if I could be an English teacher.  A few weeks ago, I taught Spanish to lower and middle school students, which was pretty awesome; it reminded me of the song on the Adam Sandler comedy CD about high school Spanish teachers.  I've been a music teacher, which requires extensive knowledge of DVD and CD technology.  The best class by far has been gym.  A sample day in the life of a substitute gym teacher:

Show up at 8:45, just in time for my second period class, because no one has gym first period.  The fifth graders rush into the locker room and change into their gray gym outfits.  They all ask if they are swimming.  When I tell them they are playing badminton, they go nuts, especially the Asian kids.  They either hate swimming, love badminton, or both.

12 kids play badminton while the other eight roughhouse on the mats.  My main job is preventing death, which in a normal gym would not be a concern.  However, there is a pile of mats six feet high on one side of the gym, and the children seem to enjoy crawling over, under, and through the mats.  The image of a missing fifth grader found weeks later in a pile of mats flashes before my eyes and I make them do pushups instead.  One of them tries a backflip off the mats and I just lose it, blowing my whistle and sounding as mad as I'm able.

In the locker room, the fifth graders are changing when the next class of high school boys come in.  They repeatedly try to slap the younger children's hands and give them a "high-five".  I get the feeling it's an inside joke privy to which I am not.

3rd period I have sixth graders.  They are calm and organized and it seems like someone has fed them a collective chunk of Xanax and Adderall at the same time.  They do their stretches silently and without a leader and I worry that they are a communist youth group plotting the bourgeious teacher's downfall.

Back in the locker room, I wait for seventh graders.  I mistakenly order a sophomore to get ready for gym class.  He seems offended, but he's really small, so he should understand.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's Been Awhile!

Hello blog followers!  It's been awhile and I promise I'll explain.  I have not blogged for almost 9 months but there is a reason for this.  I was applying to join the Air Force and felt like it would be best to lay low for awhile since you get investigated by the FBI.  Due to a hiring freeze at my position (flight surgeon) I was not hired. I realize many of you may think I'm not the military type.  You're right! 

In the interim, I've made some major changes in my life.  I earned my Nebraska Teachers' License and I now substitute teach at my former high school, Omaha Brownell-Talbot College Preparatory School. It's great.  Last week I was a substitute middle school gym teacher which is probably the best job ever.  Schedule: 9-11 AM, play badminton with fifth and sixth grade boys.  12-1, cardio with fourth graders.  If you think you know disarray try putting elementary school kids on treadmills with inclines. 1-3, watch school musical, which was hilariously funny.

I have also acquired a girlfriend and not via the usual online route from South America.  She's a dental student in Omaha and we met on a yellow bus.   Other than losing her purse and keys every 5-7 days she keeps it pretty real.  She has lots of friends, which is nice, since I only have 3 in Omaha not including family, pets, and family pets.  My oral hygiene has improved dramatically since meeting her.

Regarding jobs, I'm now only semi-retired.  I tutor high school kids in math on weekday afternoons, and I was just asked to come on board at a local acute care center in Omaha.  Soon I will have to change the blog name!  I had one really funny experience when I applied for a job in Oregon, thinking I might leave town and move to the Pacific Northwest.  The woman who owns the clinic to which I applied e-mailed me back.  I don't think she's a big fan of technology.  Here's the email. Really. (names/numbers edited)



Needless to say I require my employers to have verbal skills exceeding the average for fifth graders, so to her dismay I did not follow through with the application.  Second of all, who uses hotmail?  Answer: The same people who search for employees on myspace.

More later as there have been plenty of entertaining times in the last few months.