Spring is award season. In the past few months, they have given out Grammys, Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes; in just a few weeks, it’s the Tony Awards – where the best in American theatre is recognized.
I don’t think any of my New Orleans public high school substitute teaching escapades have been nominated, which is odd – because the New Orleans public school system (hell – the whole city!) is nothing if not theatrical. Those of you who have been following this saga over the past two years probably have some other words in mind, as do I. But let’s stick with ‘theatrical’.
Without further ado (or Neil Patrick Harris) and in no particular order, I give you the 2010 ‘Mark’s Year as a New Orleans Sub’ (MYANOS) Awards. (ED. note: Each award is followed by a quote from a critic).
Worst Use of Die-Cut Cardboard Letters to Headline a Bulletin Board Award:“WHO DEM DAT MADE DA HONOR ROLL”!
“Who da dumbass who thought this was a good idea…and who let it stay there all semester”?
Somebody Needed One of Those Baby Name Books Award: The parents who named their kid ‘Lucifer’. He wasn’t in class the day I subbed, but there he was in black-and-white on the official, school generated roll.
“As an adult, he’ll have a devil of a time getting a loan, but I’ll bet he gets the best tables at nightclubs and other hot spots”.
Best Case of Mistaken Implied Gangsta Identity Award:
Me: (at doorway) “Good morning! Come on in”.
Male student 1: “You Blood”?
Male student 1: Quite seriously, “You wearin’ red…you Blood”?
Me: (Smiling, glancing down at my red shirt and tie) “Do I look like a Blood”?
Male student 1: returns quizzical look, shrugs. States the facts as he sees them “You wearin’ red”.
Meanwhile, other students are coming into class, and are obviously listening to the conversation. Most of them look at the kid I am speaking with like HE is crazy. A few shake their heads.
Me: “Do I look like the kind of guy the Bloods would want”?
Male student 1: Sizes me up again, gives me an “I dunno” shrug.
Me: “C’mon, man. Middle age white guy…” Laughter from other students,“…do I look like a guy Bloods would want to recruit”?
Male student 1 looks at me for a moment, shrugs again, nods in affirmation, mumbles what sounds like “guess not” sits down, rest of class continues laughing.
Male Student 2: (Puzzled, looking at me) “You don’t look like no Blood”.
Me: “Ahh, gee. Thanks”.
“Does the daily array of stopwatch, flash drive and whistle hanging around my neck qualify as ‘bling’”?
Early In The Year Belief I Still Think Valid Award:
As for the continuing evolution of the Recovery School District, by 2012 charters will outnumber traditional, district-run schools by a 3-1 ratio. (Currently, 60% of New Orleans public school students go to charters; highest percentage in the country – and at least 4 schools that are ‘traditional’ public schools now will be privately run charters in the fall). As for the traditional school model here, I don’ exactly think it’s time to throw in the towel, but I don’t think the towel is still folded neatly on the closet shelf, either.
“Now, the towel is being waved like a cape by state department of education matadors”.
And finally, for this portion of our program…
Things are Looking Up and Dripping Down Award:
In one corner of an otherwise very nice, well kept, very well stocked library in a 1960’s-vintage school stood a small, Styrofoam cooler catching the slow drip of water from one of the fire sprinkler heads some nine-feet above. The algae growth in bathtub-like ring around the cooler indicated this drip had dribbled for quite some time, but the real visual treat could only be seen by looking closely, directly up at the corroded sprinkler head . . .
. . . and the three-quarter-inch long stalactite hanging from the center of it.
“When you go to check out a book, just bring your student I.D. and a copy of ‘Spelunking for Dummies’.”
That’s it for tonight. Please join us later this week, for another installment of this year’s MYANOS Awards.
The beat goes on…