I kind of thought that once I got a Masters degree, people would be lining up to offer me jobs. But no. Most of the college-level teaching or tutoring jobs I applied to ignored me. A few had the basic manners to tell me that they hadn't selected my application. I ended up in a K-12 substitute teaching job that any twenty-year-old with a high school diploma and a clean background check can get. I was kind of resentful about that, but I've tried to let it go because it won't help anything. Maybe God is still directing my life and maybe this is where I'm supposed to be.
I've gotten off easy so far. On Wednesday I signed up to fill in for a high school gym teacher, which seemed like a nice easy way to transition into this line of work. I knew there was nothing to stress about but I still stressed about it and got maybe an hour of sleep. When I showed up I couldn't find the lesson plan and neither could the main office or the other gym teacher and I went back and forth for half an hour trying to figure things out, but then it turned out to be even easier than I expected. The gym students just bounced basketballs around for an hour while I made sure none of them died. I wished I wasn't wearing slacks and dress shoes (as per the substitute dress code) so I could participate. I did have an actual classroom class as well, but an older student was assigned to it as a mentor and he did everything and that was nice.
On Thursday I filled in for a middle school science teacher for half the day. I showed up at noon like I was supposed to, but he was still there for another hour. He constantly joked around and (gently) teased the students. He was the kind of teacher I want to be, the kind that every student would love to have, and I could imagine his later classes' disappointment at coming in to find me instead. The lesson plan here was also simple enough, as the kids just needed to do get-to-know-you stuff on their laptops and then show me so I could check them off, but the stress level increased in one class with a couple of troublemakers who made barking noises and kept getting out of their seats. That's the sort of thing I'm afraid of because I don't know how to handle it at all. I just kept asking them if they'd done the assignments yet, and they kept apologizing and going back to their seats and not doing the assignments. Oh yeah, and a student told me to my face that I seemed really nervous and I would be more successful as a teacher if I pretended not to be, so that was appreciated but also ouch. The big perk at this school was the teachers' lounge that had massage chairs that touched me in ways I've never been touched before.
On Friday I signed up to be a resource/intervention specialist for a teacher who wasn't absent. I had to look up what that is. It's supposedly like a social worker. So I thought that despite having no training along those lines and being told over and over not to do so, I would be the one responsible for intervening if a student got violent. Actually, I sat in the classroom and did nothing. I just needed to be there because the teacher hadn't passed her Utah background check yet. She went over the same syllabus-type stuff in all three of her classes and it was pretty dull, but I was intrigued by how she started off cold and intimidating in her first class and transitioned to cracking jokes by the last class. I had also wondered how long in this job it would take for someone to mention the elephant in the room, and she was the one who did so. She said that in her previous school district in Idaho, one of the schools had two shootings in three years, and the students couldn't have backpacks and the classroom doors had to be closed and locked during class. Greatest country in the world, ladies and gentlemen.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.