Thursday, September 10, 2009

Teaching 'Snot for Me

Recently I took the "What is Your Ideal Job" quiz on Facebook. I expected the answer would somehow reflect my regal status -- something like "Queen of the Universe," "Royal Bon Bon Inspector," or the straightforward "Boss of Everything and Everyone."

But oh no. The answer was "Teacher."

These are the same insightful people who brought me such meaningful (and accurate) time wasting quizzes as: "Which Peanuts Character are You?" (Snoopy, of course), "Discover Your Birth Number" (2, a natural born diplomat. Well, duh), and "Which TV Mom Are You?" (Peg Bundy. Girl's got style). How could they let me down with "Teacher"?

Sorry. Been there, done that, warped a few teenage psyches along the way.

I can turn the most mundane occurrence into a "sign" of something, so I knew that getting "Teacher" as my quiz result was a sign. A bad sign. An omen of end of the world proportions. It was just a matter of time.

Today my time ran out. My second day of substitute teaching during the 2009-10 school year. The day that I learned without a doubt, that "Teacher" is not my ideal job.

If I wasn't feeling so melodramatic, I would amend that to "'Kindergarten Teacher' is not my ideal job." But after the day I had today, I deserve to be melodramatic. And technically I should amend that to "After the two and a half hours I had today, I deserve to be melodramatic." It was the longest two and a half hours of my life.

In my defense, kindergartners this early in the school year (12 days in) are basically tall preschoolers. And the preschool teacher has at least one aide. I would have settled for a roll of duct tape. With that I could have not only taped their mouths shut (Please be quiet, pleasebequiet, bequietbequietbequiet!), but also taped their little hands to their sides (No touching, notouchingnotouchingnotouching!)

The phrase "herding cats" kept running through my mind, but only as an example of a much easier job.

It's not a matter of adapting instructional techniques from high school to small fry. It's the whole caretaker thing. Here's an example:

As I was herding -- I mean escorting -- little "Regan" (name has been changed to protect the guilty and to insert a sly reference to Linda Blair's character in "The Exorcist") back to his seat, he sneezed a mighty sneeze. Being a thoughtful and polite child, he covered his mouth and nose with his hands the way you do when you sneeze.

At this point, everything went into slow motion.

Little Regan lowered his hands slightly, took a look at them, then turned to look at me, eyes wide in amazement. A snot/spit mix puddled in his hands and ran down one arm to his elbow. Another drippy strand connected the puddle to twin rivulets coating his nose, lips and chin. I quickly handed him a couple of tissues, turned him toward the sink and told him to wash up.

Then I wiped down the faucet, the soap dispenser and the paper towel holder. And washed my hands. Several times.

I seriously need to re-evaluate my career choice.

Is anyone hiring cat wranglers?

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