It’s an apt description of substitute teaching in New Orleans; every day features a colorful array of cultural oddities, games of chance, con-artists galore and try-your-luck-at –this attractions – fast-talking barkers abound. Today was no exception.
Indeed, today was the day I won ‘Ring the Bell’, sub wise. I have had students complain about me making them work to teachers and administrators (which only endears me to the powers that be) and have also had a couple of students complain in writing about my ‘making them work’ which is another feather in my cap.
But today topped them all.
I was at a district high school I really like, and that I sub at regularly, but filling in for a teacher I never had before. I did know this guy, as his classroom is right down the hall from a couple that I have frequented; he has always been helpful with answering questions and in helping deal with students. He is also a coach in a number of sports, so he has some added weight he can bring to bear on a number of students – always a plus.
Today he was at a meeting all morning, so I was just there for half a day. His first period class was typically argumentative, stating they had ‘no idea’ what the assignment he had left on the board was all about – while also telling me they had done the outline for it yesterday (go figure). They were feisty, and I had to bring the hammer down a couple of times with hallway 1-on-1s to get things calmed down.
When coach came back, I was just getting ready to leave. He came in, asked me how it went, and I told him that the first period group was very adamant about not getting to work at first, but that we finally accomplished some of what he had laid out. I was paper clipping my class reports together for him while he was putting some things away in a file cabinet. I said “Third period just won’t do any work…but that first period bunch argues everything”. With this he closed the file drawer and looked at me with an expression I couldn’t quite place.
“I know’ he said softly,”one of my softball players texted me this morning during class. I looked at my phone and it says, ‘This man is crazy! He keeps trying to make us do stuff’! I texted her back and said ‘Told you yesterday I’d be gone and that there would be an assignment on the board. Get to work’! “ Coach shook his head incredulously, as I roared with laughter; “Now that’s funny. She threatened to do it, I told her ‘go ahead’ – guess she was pretty subtle about it”. I was still laughing as I picked up my briefacse to go – coach just shook his head in amazement.
“These kids” he said with a huge sigh “are crazy”.
So I rang the bell today – will somebody please tell me what I’ve won?