May 12th just ended (about an hour and a half ago) and I did Chad Darnell's 12 of 12 Project again. (So did Babes--check it out.)
The 12 of 12 project rocks. I really want to write a Kiki Longpost style long-ass post (a LAP!) right now, because, as Rayanne Graff and Angela Chase would say, I had a day today, (actually, they would say they had a "time," not a "day," but I don't have the energy to be that nitpicky, nor do I have the energy to write a LAP right now.
So maybe I'll come back later and fill in more details. But for now, here's the story of my 12th day of the month, told via twelve photos.
#1: 1:45 a.m.: wherein I am still afuckingwake and I need to go to fuckingsleep, but I can't, so I make a list.
I recently got my substitute teaching permit, so I could make a little bit of extra cash here and there, in between writing gigs, and today I had my first teaching assignment. I would be subbing for a KINDERGARTEN class. Now, I'm good with kids. I know that. But I wasn't quite sure how good I would be with twenty of them. So last night I started to fret...and I continued to fret until early this morning. I went to bed at 2:00 a.m., even though I had to be at my classroom by 7:40 a.m. So much for sleep.
I would like to point out that the list I made at 1:45 a.m. this morning consists of the following things to do: Arrive at 7:40, leave at 7:10, clean car, pack bag lunch, mapquest directions, shave (with a question mark), and photocopy evaluation sheet.
I like the question mark after the note to shave. I think that's a nice touch. It's like, really? Do I really need to shave? And I also think it's funny that at 1:45 a.m. this morning, I honestly thought that I would wake up early enough to be out of the house by 7:10 and also have time to clean my motherfucking car.
#2: 6:53 a.m.: wherein I fucking wake up at 6:53 a.m. despite the fact that I am planning on being out of the house by 7:10 a.m. and I still need to pack my bag lunch, get mapquest directions to the school, shave (with a question mark), photocopy my evaluation sheet to leave at the school, and possibly clean my car (though this does not have a question mark on my to do list).
#3: 7:45 a.m.: wherein I arrive at my destination and have no fucking clue what I'm going to do for the next seven hours with twenty five-year-olds and I cannot find a lesson plan.
The kids in the above photo are the kids I am about to meet. The blonde woman they're standing with is the woman I am subbing for who has left no lesson plan for me, here on my first foray into the world of substitute teaching, having taken the CBest but not having any sort of teaching credentials, and starting to get slightly terrified as I realize I have no idea what I am going to do with these kids for the next seven hours. Holy mother of god.
#4: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: wherein a girl named Daisy whips me into shape and I become a substitute teacher (New Thing #76: I taught a kindergarten class)
So basically, all of the kids show up, and I'm like, "hey kids, I have no fucking idea what to do with you guys, I'm Mr. Patterson, what are your names," but I don't say fucking because they're five-year-olds and I'm not an idiot. It turns out that one of the kids is supposed to be the "classroom leader" for the day. (Normally, I would have a teacher's aide with me, but the teacher's aide is out sick too.) My "classroom leader" is this very talkative girl named Daisy. Daisy tells me what to do.
"First you have to take attendence, then we talk about what day today is, then we talk about the weather, then we sing the song about the days of the week, then we..."
(etc. etc., and on and on)
It's great. She's brilliant. I do not know where I would be without Daisy. We spend the first hour of the day doing about five million brilliant things. And that's when I find the lesson plan the teacher left for me. It was sitting on a random chair in the corner of the room and I somehow missed it (because it was on a random chair in the corner of the room). I look over the lesson plan. It very carefully lays out what we are supposed to do between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Unfortunately, thanks to Daisy's diligence, we've already literally burned through EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY the teacher has listed on her lesson plan. And it's only 9 a.m.
#5: 10 a.m.-ish: wherein lots of kids have to go to the bathroom.
Even though I've totally burned through all of the prepared activities for the day, I start to get the hang of things. I read them stories. We do some counting exercises. We make Mother's Day Cards. We read more stories. We sound out words. We write words on the board. We rock. We rule. The kids love me. Even Michael, the "problem child." (At the beginning of the day, his father introduces him to me by saying "he's the one who's going to get into trouble," and later when I meet one of the other kindergarten teachers, she asks me, "so how's that trouble-maker Michael treating you?" But Michael's a good kid. Sure, he spends half the day crawling underneath his desk, and he hits someone, and he pokes his eye and cries, and he won't sit still, and he talks when I'm trying to talk, and he won't do any of his work, and things like that, but he also comes up to me at the end of the day and tells me I'm the best teacher ever and he genuinely seems to mean it.
Oh, another thing: the above picture is of the yellow yarn necklaces that the kids have to wear as "hall passes" when they want to go to the "bathroom." (There was absolutely no reason to put quotes around the word "bathroom," I just thought it would be funny to put quotes around the word "bathroom.") I took a picture of the yellow yarn necklaces because they were a huge part of my day. Literally every five minutes a new kid would come up to me and ask me if they could go to the bathroom. Apparently children have to pee a lot.
#6: 11:30 a.m.: wherein I sit at the teacher's desk and eat lunch, savoring the once-again quiet classroom.
#7: 11:30 a.m. to 1:35 p.m.: wherein the rest of the day goes by really really fast.
This was supposed to be a picture of the classroom, but because my cameraphone is haunted, it distorted the picture. I think that the distortion is appropriate, however, because the rest of the school day really did go quite fast and having twenty five-year-old kids swirling about you for half a day really does feel like this photograph looks.
#8: 2:05 p.m.: wherein I finally take my shoes off and let my feet get some air and then I show a picture of my dirty dirty foot to the entire world (or at least the small portion of the world that reads my blog).
Except when you do something like substitute teach a kindergarten class, you're really supposed to, like, wear shoes. So I wore shoes all the goddamned day, and by the time my day at the kindergarten was over I honestly felt like my feet might fall off.
#9: 3:30 p.m.: wherein I get lots of whipped cream in my beard.
Fortunately I've learned that when you have as much facial hair as I suddenly have, you must make sure to wipe your beard after every sip of hot chocolate with whipped cream, otherwise you'll get a lot of whipped cream in your suddenly long beard.
#10: 6:05 p.m.: wherein I get tired of these little "wherein" sentences and I get annoyed that this photograph won't let me make it bigger than it is right now, unlike all of the other photos which are normal sized, and I realize that I'm so tired that I might actually fall asleep before I get to photo number 12.
This evening I went to a wake for an old friend, Pat, who lived in the house across the street from me while I was growing up, who I have known for 25 years, who died this week of congestive heart failure at the age of 70. She used to get together with friends on her front lawn every evening for drinks and so that's what we did tonight in her honor. The flag is hers.
#11: 7:13 p.m.: wherein it starts to get gloomy out!
Look at that ominous sky. This picture makes me feel like I'm in Twin Peaks.
#12: 8:00 p.m.: wherein I eat Kraft Macoroni and Cheese for dinner and even though the picture makes it looks gross it tastes so fucking good.
Seriously, why does Kraft Macaroni and Cheese taste so FUCKING GOOD? Why?
BONUS PIC: self portrait:
This is a really goofy picture. At least, I think it is.