Friday, March 25, 2011

The Beast: An Idiocy Detour

So, in case you've had trouble following my timeline, let me set you up for this story. I had worked in Hell for a year, but it wasn't really Hell because The Beast was not yet in full power. I was working for Mr. Boss, who is a kind and fair man, but had The Beast as an assistant and was sometimes distracted by Its games.

I had been offered a job in juinor high by Mr. Junior Boss, but had turned it down because The Beast manipulated coaxed me into staying in Its building. The real "scolding" I'd had was via e-mail when I had shingles and left early (read that here).

So. School is almost out year one. Mr. Junior Boss asks me if I'd like to teach summer school. Nah, not really. Not even for 600.00 a week? Ok I'm in. We're not talking about delinquent summer school, either. We're talking about enrichment. Students who WANT to go to school in June to obtain extra credits or just for the fun of it. I decided on teaching creative writing. It's my most favorite thing, and it's much more fun when you're teaching people who WANT to write.

I spent endless nighttime hours at school getting the curriculum ready. After all, this was a year's worth of school in four weeks. I had the same kids 8-3 every day. We had to have lots to write about! I planned it all with my own blood, sweat, and tears, and it was a great class.

But that has nothing (really) to do with this story. It was during that summer class I heard the familiar footsteps of The Beast approaching (I could distinguish Its walk from any other person in the building). It summoned me to the door, where It was standing with a girl I knew from high school.

"You know Ms. Idiocy, right?" she asked immediately.

"Yeah, of course," I said, smiling. Smiling on the outside. Ms. Idiocy wasn't exactly a peach of a gal. She was hateful and snotty, and few people I knew liked her.

"I'm thinking of putting her in the open English position," she said emphatically. I tried not to screw up my face in puzzlement, but I'm sure it was pretty twisted.

"It's not like it's math or something where you have to know what you're doing," It went on. "I was at a function for my kids last week and was so impressed with how well Ms. Idiocy worked with them. She just whipped them into shape," she said. "You can't say anything to ANYONE," It cautioned, "but if she gets this job, will you step in and help her out?"

"Of course," I said cheerfully. Inside I was dying. You couldn't pick a more difficult person to work with, much less teach with.

Ms. Idiocy stayed behind and visited with me. She was pretty nice, and asked some good questions, and I won't lie. I kinda liked being the "expert." No longer the low man on the totem pole. I was second in command of four now instead of fourth. I started to look forward to this little arrangement. If nothing else, it would make me look like an even better teacher.

I went about my summer and started the year with a good attitude. I was SO sure I'd made the right decision in staying, and was really excited for the upcoming year. We had a little English meeting before school started and I let Ms. Idiocy in on the beginning of the year plan to teach a grammar unit.

"What. The Hell. Is a preposition?" she asked with a stupid look on her face. Freshman English, folks, not rocket science. Mr. English and I explained it, and gave her the grammar teaching packet so she could prepare. I mean ALL we were teaching at first was prepositions. Memorize them and identify them in a sentence. You know, bird cage words? She was already rattled.

I could write paragraph upon paragraph about the things she did that year, but let me just bullet them for you so you're not reading all night.
  • She allowed 20 - 30 minutes to do bell work each day. Something that should take 5 or less.
  • She was constantly a day behind (or more) but never told us until she was way behind.
  • She had her students read a story and discuss it while she was gone to a conference. She NEVER read the story (that the students were tested on --a test written by "REAL" English teachers)
  • According to one of her students, she gave them an hour to do 1-10 questions over a story, and they had LOTS of free days.
  • She couldn't figure out what "Om-niss-Kent" point of view meant. You know, omniscient? All knowing.
  • She had her English II kids doing the same thing as her Creative Writing kids...thus some of them were doing the EXACT same thing twice a day.
And that creative writing class I mentioned her teaching? The Beast forced me to hand over my unit I'd done with summer school. The one I'd put so much blood, sweat, and tears into? The one I worked on for nights on end. Yeah.

So I was POSITIVE she would be a one year teacher, considered a mistake, and let go. After all, even her A and B students were getting Ds or Fs half the time.

Imagine my surprise when I had the following conversaton with Mr. English:

"Well, it seems Ms. Idiocy is the "Golden Child" of our department, and you're...well...somewhere on the other end," he confided. I smiled and shook my head, thinking it was some kind of sarcastic joke. "No, I'm serious," he said.

"WHAT?" I asked him.

"I know. I mean she is a real idiot, but she has some kind of favor with The Beast for sure. The Beast told me It thought Ms. Idiocy and Ms. Fatbelly would do fine, but that you would be the one struggling this year," he said.  I would be the one struggling. Well, It got THAT right, but it wasn't because I didn't know how to teach.

"That's unbelievable." I was dumbfounded. My mouth hung ajar and my head shook slowly as I tried to figure this all out.

"I know. I think you do a great job," he encouraged.

The best I could come up with? The Beast liked Ms. Idiocy to begin with, and The Beast liked to be right. So It wouldn't LET Ms. Idiocy make a fool of It. It went around covering her mistakes, throwing me to the wolves, and making sure everyone KNEW The Beast had made an amazing choice in this bank-teller made teacher.

I won't even start on some of the conflict and animosity I had with Ms. Idiocy, and the fact that I wasn't alone. But that's a story for another day...

1 comment:

  1. OMG!!! I didn't know you ever taught at Warsaw. I bet I know who Ms. Fatbelly is :-). I love reading your post. I had no idea that place turned into hell. O how I would love to know who these other people are that you mention!!!