Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Saturday, April 14, 2007


Whine, Bitch & Moan

I'm gonna go ahead and advise most everybody to skip this post. You're not going to want to read it, as it's just a lot of me griping about my life when I'm actually incredibly lucky to have a job and a home and a lovely wife and both my balls and all that good shit.

Seriously, why the hell are you still reading this? Shoo.

Ye gods, I had a shitty day yesterday. I almost left for work without my iPod, which would have meant the horrifying prospect of being forced to listen to packs of nimroddic high schoolers gossipping or talking about their exciting experiences with marijuana while I glumly tried to tune them out and read Slaughterhouse-Five. Fortunately, I remembered before I'd left the building and I ducked back in the apartment and grabbed the iPod.

Not so fortunately, my iPod froze the fuck up. I've had the experience before where it won't play. Then you shut it off for awhile or say three Hail Marys and it starts back up. But this was not that. This was frozen screen, no play, light on, very bad. Wouldn't shut off, wouldn't do a goddamn thing. So I was forced to listen to the nimroddic high schoolers, with the added bonus of worrying what the fuck was wrong with my iPod.

The goddamn thing was still frozen when I got to work, but I kept a stiff upper lip, shoved it in my bag and forgot about it. But I think it had affected my mood just enough to put me in exactly the wrong place for the events that followed.

I do small-group instruction in tandem with another teacher in the mornings. We were doing some work on English, going over cause and effect. The other teacher instructed the kids to write a sentence with a cause and effect structure.

We'll set aside for now how depressing it is that only one out of ten kids actually wrote a sentence instead of doing a flow-chart. What really got to me is when I saw that one of the kids had written "Mr. Wack is so ugly--> I was blinded." This is the kind of thing that I can normally chuckle at and ignore, but something about my mood yesterday caused it to hit me like a kick in the nutsack. That and when she shared it with her friends and they all giggled and pointed.

Later in the day, I was wrapping up class with my "best" group of seventh graders. I have them next on Tuesday, but I won't be there, as I'm skipping out on work to experience the joys of jury duty. So I said, "Okay, listen up: I'm not going to be here on Tuesday..." at which point they cheered and applauded.

And, again, this is not that huge of a fucking deal and I'd normally be able to smile and shoot back a "Yeah, I'll miss you, too" or something. But I couldn't. It just fucking crushed me.

It crushed me because there are teachers there who the kids really like. And there are teachers there who the kids really and truly respect. And I'm neither of those. I'm not a great teacher. I'm just not. I'm strict enough that the kids resent me for making them spit out their gum and pull their fucking pants up over their underwear. I'm lazy enough that I don't always follow up with my detentions and phone calls. I'm not so dedicated that I stay after school every day to work with small groups of kids. I'm not innovative enough that my every lesson is exciting. I'm the educational equivalent of egg salad. (Look, I know it's a shitty analogy, but it's a week after Easter and I'm tired of having to eat egg salad, so it's on my fucking mind, okay?)

Anyway, a busted iPod was enough of a catalyst to take my insecurities as a teacher and just blow them all out of proportion. Isn't it great to know what a thin line separates a tolerable day from a soul-crushing one?

God, I could have written this.
People always ask me, "Are you a good teacher?"
First, WTF kind of question is that? And, don't look at me that way when I say "I'm o.k. Not great, but o.k."

Because that's the truth. I'm pretty good, not great.
You're egg salad, I'm a cheeseburger.
Welcome to the smorgasbord.
I could not care less how crappy of a teacher you is your iPod??
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