Wednesday, April 05, 2006

She Looks Pretty Tall, But Her Heels Are High
It’s easy to call in sick to Shitty High School. You just leave a message the night before with your name, department, and shift. You don’t even have to talk to a person, and try to sound like you have a cold or something.

You’re supposed to leave “emergency plans” in a file folder for whoever covers your class. A lot of times even that doesn’t happen, but when it does these invariably consist of nothing more than Xeroxed worksheets from a set of 15 year old “Skill Builders” workbooks. I was running a set off the other day when a kid in the office saw me.

“Oh no, Mister, again? I done that page like 20 times!”

Oh well. The times I’ve known in advance I would be out and actually tried to leave work that was somehow relevant to what we’d been studying, it was ignored by the sub altogether (might have required some actual teaching,) and the kids never do any work for the substitutes anyway.

The problem is that Ms. Wayne is still around, still without a teaching position, and still hanging around the office crushing bay-leaves in her tea and complaining about the kids and the Union and the heat and the ventilation and anything else she can find to bitch about. Her non-working, always-complaining ass even has the nerve to put the student aides to work printing up the flyers for the vocal performances she puts on at her church.

She must have pushed one of those flyers on me half a dozen times now (in a half a dozen different colors and snappy lay-outs too). Yeah, sure, right. I’d love to come up to your kooky born again church and listen to your crazy ass caterwaul about the end times. Someone call Kirk Cameron, the Rapture is nigh.

Because Ms. Wayne gets paid to sit around the office doing nothing all day, she’s the one who is called first when a coverage needs to be done. So whenever I’m out, she covers my classes, and without fail, every single time, there’s some kind of incident.

I’ll get back to school and my mailbox will be filled with copies of referrals and letters home and phone-logs, and, whaddayknow, here comes Ms. Wayne to tell me how disrespectful this kid and that kid was, and how she had to take whatever disciplinary action she took, and blah blah blah, and I don’t even listen anymore. The Dean’s office doesn’t either; a referral comes in with Ms. Wayne’s name on it, and it goes straight in the garbage. My AP even tried to ban her from calling kids homes, she threatened to go to the Union, though, so the AP had to drop that.

It’s become a running joke between me and my kids. Okay guys, who got a referral yesterday? Some of my kids, my good kids even, just turn around and leave when they see Ms. Wayne in the room. They don’t want any trouble.

Don’t get me wrong, believe me I know these kids can be real assholes, but obviously her current tactic of constantly writing referrals and whatnot isn’t working. That, coupled with her complete inability to control a class at all or get along with any student ever seem to be a strong indication that this woman needs a new line of work. I once walked into a class she was covering and not only were the kids throwing dice in the back (“ashy to classy!”) but there was a fresh DDP tag on the chalkboard. In spray-paint.

Seriously. It was like a Meth and Red movie in there.

She covered my class last week, and as per usual, there was a stack of referrals in my box, which I ignored, and everything was running as smoothly as things at Shitty ever run, when right before my 7th period class Ms. Wayne popped in my room and pulled me aside for a little chat.

In between barking at every student that came up to me to say hello or ask a question (“two adults are speaking here, you need to give us our privacy!”) she informed me that Ramon, a tiny little hyperactive kid who looks like he’s 8 years old, had been repeatedly “breaking wind” in class the day before, that the students had left the room to get away from the odor, and that this, clearly was inappropriate behavior and I need to speak with his parents.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor at the ridiculousness of it all, I mumbled something non-committal about taking care of it and ushered her out of my room. A minute later, as my students were filing in, a young girl approached me.

“Mister, Ms. Wayne kept throwin’ farts yesterday, and she said it was Ramon!”

I believe the kid.

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