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.


Jen on the Edge said...

Wow, I had no idea. Well, at least you had a good excuse not to send out Christmas cards. Oh yeah, and buy lots of cute new clothes.

It's good to have you back online. I've missed your humor.

smalltownmom said...


Rose said...

Welcome back! Hope you at least had a happy holiday!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Tres bien! This made me laugh, but I'm glad you managed to keep those kids in the right tense;)

Anonymous said...

Holy crap you have been a busy woman! And thank you for teaching me the French word for pimp. I have high hopes that will be a Jeopardy! question someday.

Linda said...

I was a bit concerned when I didn't see the accent marks on résumé, but at least you explained yourself.
You failed to mention that in addition to everything else, you had your parents driving in from Ohio two days before Christmas. I must say that, exhausted as you were, you still managed to give us one of our best Christmases ever. Merci beaucoup!

Dawn in Austin said...

That's okay, you didn't have to wrap my present, I would take it in the shopping bag you brought it home in. See how helpful I can be during times of stress?

It sounds like you had a good time, even if it did sound a bit like actual work.

Can't wait to hear about the play!

katiegirl said...

Glad to see you back online! What a whirlwind! Hopefully things will slow down just a tad for you now.

Cindy said...

I've missed your stories!

Susan said...

So glad you are back with us. I wondered how long that drama thing was going on! And I agree that working is the best excuse for new clothes and shoes!

Hope things settle down a bit and we get to hear from you more frequently.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

"Teenagers are wacky little critters, but strangely endearing."--Perfect!

trash said...

Seems justifiable reasons for not blogging, especially the bit about pretty shoes.

To add to your list of 'foreign' swear words I proffer - car and peach (phonetic spelling of course ;-) meaning 'arse/ass' & 'lady garden' in Albanian. You're welcome ;-)

imbeingheldhostage said...

That IS frightening, I minored in geology-- you don't suppose the US Govt will call me up and catch me with my brain down, do you?

Wow-- impressive what you pulled off, I'm surprised that it took you so long to hit the nervous breakdown stage. Well done!

Anonymous said...

So funny! Glad you made it through French class. At least you got cute clothes out of the ordeal. ;-)

Happy Weekend to you.

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Dallas County Jail said...

You should minor in the second thing that you love doing.