In Which Kristy Faces her Greatest Fear

Thursday I will face one of my greatest fears. Well… one of my greatest fears that isn’t alligators or crocodiles. (Don’t judge. Those things are relics of an earlier world. Much like Balrogs. And just as evil.) No, Thursday, for the first time, I will substitute teach.

I have a lot of teaching experience. I’ve taught high school. Middle school. I’ve taught middle school curriculum to overachieving eight year olds. I’ve adjuncted at the community college level and I’ve been a graduate teaching assistant. But I have never been a substitute. There are reasons for that.

Mostly because I remember how awful kids are to substitute teachers. Okay, at the end of the day, kids are awful to all teachers. But whereas with full time teachers they’re constantly testing the limits with subs they tend to assume there are none. I’d like to believe that it won’t be so bad since these will be college students, but I’m not holding my breath. Teaching any classroom full of undergraduates who aren’t majoring in the subject at hand is always hard. But with my own students I learn to read them. Thursday will be like the first day of class again, only without the benefit of ever moving beyond it.

Add to all the student bullshit the lingering feeling I’m going to screw up what I’m supposed to teach and ruin the curriculum for the rest of the semester. After all, I’m not going to be the one grading them. I won’t be there when they all get the same thing wrong to sit there and say, “Oh, you know what? That’s because I said XYZ.”

And the real reason I’ve never subbed before is this: you don’t even get paid well for it. At the secondary level subs tend to get paid about minimum wage. I’ll be getting paid in nothing but good karma and fudge.

Though to be fair… fudge is fudge. And I’m a broke grad student, contractually obligated to do most anything for free food. And I’m going to need the karma in a couple weeks. So heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to someone else’s work I will go.

I’m Really Not Qualified to Judge Your Gumbo, but I Totally Will

Today, as I’m guessing you know, is Mardi Gras (also, International Women’s Day, which is like Mother’s Day but doesn’t leave out those of us who don’t reproduce).  Mardi Gras in much of the US is the day in which other people try to live the life of Louisiana residents.  Now I have to be honest, I’m no more a Louisiana resident than any of the rest of these wannabes.  But I do have  a lot of family in the great state of Louisiana and spent a lot of summers there.  This means that I don’t really understand what it is to be a Louisianan, but I do have my own distinct understanding of the state and what it means.  Here’s the bits of Louisiana I have absorbed into my identity:

The only sort of rice you should ever use is Uncle Ben’s.  No I don’t care that the store brand is cheaper.  This is one time when generic is not okay (unless you’re making basmati or jasmine rice.  I might even concede brown rice).

Contrary to popular belief, there is absolutely no reason why gumbo must contain shrimp.

A casino is a perfectly acceptable place for a post-funeral dinner.

No other coffee in the world can ever be as good as Community Coffee (even if I’m not allowed to buy it since it’s not fair trade certified).  Community Coffee should be at all state welcome centers as a way of saying, “Welcome to Louisiana.  We’re nice and like good coffee!”

There is nothing wrong with putting a Wal-Mart in a bear crossing zone.  Or an alligator crossing zone.

The most important requirement for a priest/minister is that he give a short enough sermon you can beat the Baptists to all the good restraints (this one is fairly common throughout the south).

If a Catholic priest is conservative and young he’s also probably good looking and the old ladies in the church not-so-secretly call him, “Father What-a-Waste.”

A good family name will get you just about anything you could want.

Alligators are f’ing scary.

Honestly, we could kind of sum it all up to that last one.