Friday, March 11, 2011

It's Showtime...

Wow. It's been a long time since I've had the chance to sit down and blog. My days (and evenings) have been filled with drama rehearsals and yet another long-term sub job. The drama job has finally boiled down to this weekend: Maine Regional One-Act Competition.

Today we'll be loading our (huge) set onto a school bus in the pouring rain, then driving an hour and a half away to compete against other mid-Maine schools. The kids are psyched, I have three Tupperware containers of paint in my briefcase (for emergency set touch-ups), and migraine meds in my purse. I am inexplicably wearing a bright green t-shirt with a gnome on it (team spirit trumps fashion sense for the day).

I even baked cookies to take, so the drama kids will have a quick snack to grab if they need it. I'm a mom. I feed people.

I have a bag filled with duct tape, staple gun, extra staples, scissors, Ziploc bags, paint brush, flashlight, band-aids, pencils, paper towels, tape, and Tic-Tacs. I figure that variety should cover nearly anything that crops up.

We are ready to break a leg.

Hopefully, not literally. At our community performance, one kid managed to fall off the stage.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Be Careful What You Minor In

My name is Jenn, and it's been two months and eight days since my last post. But I have a REALLY good excuse.

It all started back when I took that drama position, directing the high school's one-act play for competition. Well, technically it started before that when I signed up to sub in the local school district. But the key thing is that when I went to interview for the drama position, I took along a copy of my resume (nattily transported in my leather portfolio) to give the principal, as part of my Oh Look, I'm All Professional and Not Just a Stay-at-Home Mom persona.

Two hours after being hired for the drama position, I got an email from the principal:
I see on your resume that you have a teaching minor in French. Our French teacher is moving out of state next month. Do you have any interest in applying?

I zipped back an instant reply of:
No way, man. I last spoke French fifteen years ago and have retained only the amount necessary for ordering in restaurants and cursing at fellow drivers in a creatively Gallic way.

I may have worded it slightly more professionally than that. I closed politely with:

However, I'm happy to fill in as a sub if you need someone to cover the gap between the current teacher leaving and the new one starting.

Weeks went by, and I heard nothing more, so I assumed that a new French teacher was hired. Then one day my phone rang and the high school secretary called to offer me a long-term sub position in French. The teacher they planned to hire turned it down at the last second. I would start in a week. With no lesson plans, no full-time French teacher in sight, and a back pocketful of scattered French profanities. Merde. Beaucoup de merde.

I should mention that no one in the school could seem to locate a copy of the district curriculum for French. Which would have been really freaking helpful.

I yanked out dusty college textbooks, frantically Googled things like "How to teach high school French", and made my husband quiz me on verb tenses. For just shy of a month, I taught five levels of high school French and learned that there was more French squirreled away in dusty corners of my brain than I had realized. Thank God, because three of the classes were reading novels in French. Don't get me wrong - I ordered the English translations and ready them side-by-side to check my accuracy. Still, I did better than I would have expected, especially when you consider that these were books by authors like Camus and de Beauvoir. (Bonus: I learned the French word for "pimp", which I had not previously known. "Souteneur", FYI).

By 8:00 pm each night, I was having trouble keeping my eyes open. And at 5:00 am each morning, the alarm clock beeped me back into bleary consciousness.

When they finally found a full-time French teacher, I had a four days off then was right back into another long-term sub job for an English teacher. That took me right up until Christmas and the brink of a nervous breakdown because five days before Christmas I had still not baked, mailed cards, or finished wrapping presents.

Takeaway lessons from my experience:

1. Subbing is a really good way to justify buying new clothes and pretty shoes.
2. Teenagers are wacky little critters, but strangely endearing.
3. For God's sake, be careful what you minor in.