Some douchebag drunk questioned my choice of a career again this week.
“DUDE,” he boomed awkwardly in a packed restaurant during Friday happy hour. “You teach high school? I am SO SORRY.” Pardon the caps, but I don’t really know how to otherwise indicate the volume at which this twenty-something was voicing his inebriatedly unsolicited opinion after hearing me causally mention work to a friend.
“I was in high school once!” No shit, Sherlock. “And I was like ‘oh man, so many of my classmates are, like, SO bad, that like, gawd I don’t know what I would do if I had to teach them’ and, like, now I’m out of high school and I’m still like “gawd, why would anyone do that?’ That must suck!”
At which point I punched him in the face.
Ok, I didn’t. But I desperately wanted to. Luckily for his incisors, he was intercepted by his girlfriend/buddy/female companion of piss-poor luck who smiled apologetically and directed his loud-ass mouth back into his beer where it belonged.
Which got me thinking about the gym.
Not out of a desire to to develop the biceps needed to effectively punch idiots in the face, (I’m actually on the rather pacifistic end of things, most of the time) but because smut magazine are my guilty gym pleasure.
The only thing that can make a half an hour on an eliptical machine bearable is knowing exactly what it was that caused Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher to split. Or which version of a Starbucks latte Brad Pitt ordered. Or what celebrities have given their kids obscenely stupid names. (Did you know that David Bowie named his daughter Zowie? Zowie Bowie? Cruel. Not as cruel, however, as Moon Unit Zappa whose name somehow manages to invoke both sides of a man’s lower half. Which, I’m sure, would have led to much adolescent taunting if she hadn’t had her sister Diva Muffin around for support. That’s right. Diva. Muffin. A whole visual that I don’t really need.)
But once I’ve finished my catty judging and gotten a good high from sniffing all of the perfume ads laced with magazine ink, I always come back to education. I encourage my my students to learn both in and outside of the classroom, so shouldn’t I lead by example? Isn’t it my responsibility to seize every opportunity to further my own education? Smut magazines have long been part of my pursuit of knowledge. As a teenager, their helpful quizzes confidently reassured me Which Type of Flirting Fit My Personality Style. or If The Boy I Liked Was Into Me. Nowadays, they seem a bit more personal, offering me their opinion as to How Good A Lover I Really Am. Only occasionally do they hit on something useful, such as Whether Or Not I’m The Office Bitch.
Always poorly written and minimally informative, it struck me that these quizzes were right up the Singing Pig alley. And, since everyone seems so open to expressing their opinion as to teaching, I wrote one.
How Much Do You Really Know About Teaching Teenagers?
A Cosmo (ish) Quiz
1. At heart, when you’re being truly honest with yourself, your core belief about teenagers is:
- They’re fully functional adults.
- They’re like really loud, mobile, and occasionally destructive caterpillar cocoons going through some mysterious transformative process in which they will, god willing, become functional adults instead of large, wormy insects that spend their lives eating.
- They’re devil spawn.
- They’re freaky circus mirrors that reflect back unspoken opinions, then mold and morph them to the extreme so that if you thought you were kind of heavy to begin with, you now look like a complete lardass
2. The work gods have mandated that you must teach high school. Your teaching teenager philosophy is:
- If I know my stuff and put my time and energy into training them up right, then everything will go exactly as planned and we will all be successful.
- The work gods have demanded what? Wait…people actually do that for living?
- Shoot me now.
- If I pray to most of the principal religious deities, take up a rigorous athletic and meditation training, eliminate all previous assumptions as to my competency but simultaneously know my stuff and put my time and energy into training them up right, things might sometimes go how I plan.
3. You’re in the middle of teaching class one day and a student wearing nothing but shorts and a gorilla mask runs into your room, launches himself six inches in front of you, and howls like a monkey. You…
- speak sharply to the gorilla, sending him to the bathroom to put normal clothes back on, then give a pre-emptive lecture to your class about appropriate school behavior and consider beginning a search for new teaching jobs that evening as any school where a student could make it down a hallway and into a classroom while half naked is not really where you belong.
- Scream in fright, realize you’ve been had, then stand there awkwardly as you’re not really sure how one goes about handling a half-naked gorilla so you’ll just assume he has had his fun and will soon take his leave to terrorize others.
- Kick him in the nuts.
- Yank a banana out of your lunch, lure gorilla to the door and toss the banana down the hall, (now making him some other teacher’s problem) but casually refer to the gorilla by his human name on your way back into class thereby popping his anonymity balloon.
4. You believe a typical day at work will consist of anywhere from three to five of the following five items:
- positively influencing a student, improved literacy skills, student-teacher bonding, new problem solving strategies, collaboration.
- a fair amount of insanity, maybe some learning, worksheets, cafeteria lunch, detentions.
- illegal and/or prescription drugs, fights, foul mouths, stress, future criminals of America.
- fart jokes, random perceptive comments, “my printer broke” excuses, stunning cluelessness, being outsmarted
5. If you were to line yourself up with an average class of thirty students, you would define yourself as:
- their academic guide to a productive life.
- a bit overwhelmed
- the security checkpoint
- the gifted actor who knows that not being the smartest person in the room doesn’t matter if you play a convincing genius.
Mostly A’s: You are an overly idealistic individual with a reasonably substantial stick residing up your hind end. While there is nothing wrong with idealism per se, it is most effective when it functions within the confines of reality. You, my friend, do not operate within the confines of reality, but rather in an odd mix of la-la land and your grandfather’s boarding school. Exhale, stop trying to change everyone’s world every day, and have a little fun. You can begin by removing the idealistic stick up your rear, then cracking a good poo joke about it.
Mostly B’s: You are a sincere soul, kind at heart but rather befuddled by adolescent antics. You find teenagers mostly to completely irrational and prefer observing them from a distance, much like the monkeys at the zoo. You interact with teens when forced without being a total train wreck, but you’re easily sidetracked much to your own disadvantage. If you were to teach teenagers, you would be that teacher they they all like well enough, but with whom they know they can get away with murder. If you currently are a teacher, your kids are getting away with murder and you just haven’t figured it out yet.
Mostly C’s: You hate teenagers and, aptly recognizing their foe, teenagers hate you. Your blinding determination to see only the more obnoxious tendencies of the adolescent demographic results in a constant conflict that you label as “adolescent defiance” and your teen counterparts label as “you’re an asshole.” While you may have impressive talents in other fields, teaching teenagers is not in your repertoire so speaking on behalf other educators and teenage students, kindly avoid the education field as your presence will probably be about as helpful as spiking Keith Richards’ salt shaker with cocaine.
Mostly D’s: You are the rare soul who might actually make it as a teacher of teenagers and, if you’re having a particularly good day, enjoy it. You possess the right amount of street-smart and idealism to see through squirrely antics and find the more sincere base below. You alternate wildly between the above three descriptions, but it is your constant ADD with regard to your opinion of teenagers that keeps you afloat. You’re not perfect and you don’t have a prayer of smooth sailing but you might just make it across the ocean of teenage angst with just a couple of small leaks and a mild case of scurvy.
Of course a stockpile of rum never hurts either…
This quiz not challenging enough for you? Stay tuned for our next edition (whenver I feel like getting around to writing it). Singing Pig’s “Correctly Identify Which One of These is the True Story” Quiz! Coming soon…