Friday, April 24, 2009

Back To School

This bright Friday morning marks my triumphant return to teaching as I find myself planted firmly in the classroom of a Mr. J who teaches chemistry at the local high school. There were no lesson plans upon my arrival, no roll sheets all printed out to make my life easier, just a stack of papers and a sticky note. I guess when you're married to the substitute, you take the easy road in your preparations.

I haven't done any subbing since the arrival of sweet baby Austin and I don't think I did much while I was pregnant so a lot of school has passed me by and I feel slightly out of practice. Luckily, the good kids here at PHS adore my husband and so they adore me as well. Kind of.

I am currently watching first hour take the "Gas Laws Exam." (Insert silly joke here.) And while I'll be the first to admit that chemistry was never my strong suit (or math, or any other subject requiring the teensiest bit of analytical brain, something I am greatly lacking) I am still bothered to report that I cannot answer a single question on the test. I have no idea about any of it. I don't even know the steps I would take to try to uncover the answers. And yet I watch a classroom full of 15-year-olds writing like mad fools as they answer each and every question. It's disturbing.

The school has a special air of excitement about it as tomorrow is prom. Oh! How I love all things prom! Brad and I always have the pleasure of chaperoning and it is the best perk about being married to a teacher. (Other than that summer break thing.) I am not at all embarrassed to admit that as a 34-year-old mother of four, I look forward to prom every year. I always buy a new dress. I always take extra time getting ready. I always feel that nervous excitement in going, in seeing the kids, in watching them fumble all over themselves as they play grown up for an evening. It's delightful.

(Except that this year we don't get to go. And I am horked. Stupid tennis season, ruins everything.)

Remember how the Friday before prom was spirit day? And all the kids in school would dress up in school colors, do funky things with their hair and burst at the seams with high school pride? Yep, it still goes on and I am staring at a sea of purple. And all the same kids are still in school. There is the quiet girl in the back who you know is wicked smart but still kind of keeps to herself, waiting for her social skills to catch up with her braininess. And the jock who wears sweats 7 days a week and makes the girls swoon. And the tall, lanky geek who is trying to find where he fits in and is so unbelievably sweet and kind that it makes your heart ache for him a little. They are all still here, ensconsed in the rigors of high school, doing their time, waiting for the next phase of their life to begin. And so many of us waiting to go back to all just for a day.

My fear in coming to school every time is driven by total vanity and even though I always expect myself to grow out of it, I haven't yet. I'm always worried that the kids will have a snicker fest over the likes of Mr. J's wife.

"Did you see her shoes? Seriously, who would wear those?"

"Man, her arse is the size of Texas! Poor Mr. J!"

And the worst of all...

"She has total mom hair!"

Apparently, the insecurities that I see sitting before me never really go away. They may change a bit, or lessen with time, but the desire to fit in and be well liked never really leaves us. It's not something that's only found in high school, but in each and every one of us. If only there was a test to take that would free us. I'd love to get a paper back with a big red 'A' at the top, assuring me that I have passed self-confidence 101 with flying colors. How much simpler life would be.

Toady's lesson? Firmly learned.


Heather said...


Kelly said...

I know, I keep waiting for the day when I don't worry about what other people think...Silly isnt' it?

I love your commentary about the kids taking the exam and you not knowing one answer... I'm sure many substitute teachers have had the same revelation... So funny!

And you really shouldn't worry about your shoes, you always have the cutest shoes!

tharker said...

And this post right here is exactly why I love you! Because you said horked. I love it when you say horked!!!

No, really...your writing is so fantastic! And not to worry, I too never did well in the whole math/science area ;)

Tiffany said...

I want to go to PROM!!!!!!!!!

AOlson said...

At least we know you would so get an A+ in English. This was very well written:) And PROM!!! Yeah, I wanna go!

Never Gonna Graduate said...

Ha-ha-hee-hee-ho-ho goes my avalanche of laughter!

Nancie said...

I worked pictures again this year at phs prom. I was wating to see if you'd be there...
this year not many scandalous outfits. but the breathalizers? really? signs of the times?
Im sure you are a Awesome teacher!