A Day in the Life

Wherein a legislator substitute teaches a day in order to empathize with teachers:

Secretary: Paul, thank you for covering for Mrs. Buzan today. Here are her plans, copies, keys. Rosters. Notes. Oh, and info about registration—make time for that. Coffee’s in the library.

Paul: Wonderful. [looks at watch; heads to library]

Young teacher, red hair: [mid-story] …and then I see her at 7:20 the next morning! Outside my door! With an open laptop!

All in lounge: [laughter]

Librarian: [cleaning her glasses] Sounds about right. Unplanned, of course?

Red head: Yes! Because I gave the kid 3 out of 5 points!

All: [laughter]

Paul: Morning.

Librarian: Who’re you today?

Paul: [Looks at file in left hand] Boo-zan?

Librarian: Better get going. Class starts in 4 minutes.

Paul: [looks at watch; looks at teachers]

Librarian: They have first hour prep; they can show up on the minute. You on the other hand, have a fan club outside your door.

—————- 20 minutes later ————-

Paul: [to self] Attendance, registration, agenda: done, done, done. [looks at watch] Okay class, looks like you have 35 minutes finish this essay.

Mary: THIRTY FIVE? Pssshhhtt!

Maddan: [to Mary] He wasted our time with the politically correct roll call. Could’a put the assignment under the doc cam.

Mary: At least he didn’t show the Key & Peele skit.

Paul: Ladies! Essay!

Maddan: [to Mary] Did he just assume my gender?

Paul: [sighs] You two in the back: put the phones away and get to work.

Tonio: Sir, I’m using Google Docs to type it. [hands phone to Paul]

Paul: [raises eyebrows] Two paragraphs? Impressive [returns phone]. You’re doing this too?

Randall: Nah bruh, I just Snapchatted you calling Maddan a girl! [guffaws, slaps desk]

—————- 45 minutes later; next period ————-

Paul: Okay class, looks like you have 40 minutes to start and finish this essay.

Steevin: Forty? For a timed essay?

Paul: How much do you usually get?

Steevin: Fifty.

Paul: [to self] How does she…

—————- 45 minutes later; next period ————-

Paul: [bell rings] Directions are on the board. I’ll walk around with the sign-in sheet. You have 50 minutes.

Lindsay: Nice. [to Jordan] D’ya’hear Randall’s class had to do the whole thing in thirty-five?

Jordan: He get it done?

Lindsay: Hope so or he won’t get to play. Coach is crazy.

—————- 50 minutes later; lunch ————-

Paul: [walking into neighboring classroom] Hi. I was wondering if you could help me with lunch.

Teacher: [mid-bite, rests fork on napkin] Here. Have my granola bar.

Paul: Um. I meant options. Anything nearby?

Teacher: Oh… you have 26 minutes, but yeah: there’s a Safeway across the street. With student traffic, you might be able to get back before the bell but you’ll have to eat in class and some kid’ll probably film it.

Paul: Twenty-six minutes, huh? Okay. Any closer options?

Teacher: Twenty-five now. There’s also the ice cream truck. He sells homemade quesadillas and hot fries. Oh, and there’s coffee in the library.

—————- 25 minutes later; next period ————-

[bell rings]

Paul: Shoot! Where’s the bathroom?

Student: [points]

Paul: [walks into class, 5 minutes late] Sorry about that. Okay, today you’ll be working on a timed essay—can I help you?

On-campus officer: Sir [shakes hands], all due respect, class started five minutes ago.

Paul: [grimaces] I had to use the restroom. [rubs belly] Takis and coffee.

Officer: I see. Well, not a great idea to leave 34 students unsupervised in a classroom. Especially seniors. Roxanne! Follow me! [walks out]

Paul: [to self] Seniors? [ruffles through plans]

Marcus: [whispers forcibly] Check out Randall’s Snapchat: he got Pinstripes at the ice cream truck!

Kyle: That guy’s a citizen journalist!

Paul: Sorry, not the essay, you’ll be reading the end of “Allegory of the Cave” and synthesizing it with the Scharfin essay on universal perspective. Says here “don’t forget to cite evidence”.

All: [choral sighs, shuffling of papers]

Kyle: Can you help me? Does this allegory presuppose that perception and reality are the same?

Paul: I haven’t, um…read it. We read a lot of Hemmingway in my day.

Kyle: [with superiority] Brayden, this guy hasn’t read Plato yet.

Ericka: Oh my God, a Bee! I’m SO allergic! Seriously, I’ll die.

Marcus: Kill it!

Brayden: Don’t kill it! They’re dying!

Ericka: Kill it! That bee’s not trying to get a scholarship to Cornell!

Brayden: Smith’s B already lost you that scholarship! [fist bumps Kyle]

—————- 41 minutes later; next period ————-

Paul: Finally. Prep hour. [sits down just as phone rings] Hello?

Caller: Sir, we’re short subs today. You need to cover the Calculus class down the hall. I’ll send a roster down. [click]

Paul: But—hello, hello? Sheeshus, I haven’t taken a math class in twenty years! [walks to Math room]

Randall: Whaaad up, Pinstripes! [takes selfie with Paul just before sitting down]

Paul: [sighs, looks at watch] Good afternoon. Today we’ll be… [picks up notes from desk] practicing the notation from Chapter 8. You’ll need to define the differentials, compute, and then metacognitively analyze your process with a partner.

Randall: Can I sit by Tonio?

Paul: Tonio. Can you babysit him?

Tonio: ’S what I do. [pulls out phone]

Paul: Lem’me guess, calculator?

Tonio: No, YouTube. I’m watching a tutorial about adding second derivatives.

Paul: I see. And you?

Randall: Preempting my demise. I’m drafting an e-mail to let coach know he probably won’t let me play Friday.

Paul: Fair enough.

—————- 45 minutes later; next period ————-

Paul: [from desk chair] Directions are on the board! Get to work!

Halee: I don’t understand. Are we writing an essay or reading? [leans to Serah] What’s wrong with him?

Serah: First day as a sub. Check out Randall’s Story.

—————- 50 minutes later; after last bell ————-

Paul: [head on desk] Finally!

Librarian: Paul, you’ve bus duty. You have to supervise the red curb until 3:10.

Paul: Right. What’s the daily sub rate, again?

Librarian: Seventy dollars.

Paul: [counting fingers]

Librarian: [smiles] Not bad, huh? Just think if you were a teacher you’d be writing lesson plans, grading, and responding to e-mails for the next three hours. Unless you were a coach– in that case you’d be here until ten p.m. Now THAT would make you crazy.












Angela Buzan

Angela Buzan is a full time English teacher in the Flagstaff Unified School District. She has thirteen years’ teaching experience and has taught all grades seven through twelve. In 2010, she received a Fulbright Teacher Exchange fellowship to Kolkata, India; in 2012 she achieved National Board Certification; in 2014 she earned a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction. Her current challenge is to out-read Gavin, in third period, who typically polishes off three novels a week.

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