Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It was an interesting first day as a substitute on Monday. Teaching isn't easy, even when you aren't really teaching anything, and getting kids to be quiet and productive and listen to a stranger is a difficult prospect. You have to be firm and unyielding. Give 'em an inch, and they'll take a mile, asphalt, road signs and mile markers included. Thankfully, kids are dumb, yet think they're very clever. I remember I was the same way. If you can establish a stern, commanding and dominant presence, if you enforce your rules to the letter and do not bend to their wills, then you can have a quiet and pleasant classroom.

My first period was actually pretty easy. I handed out worksheets and told them they could not talk while doing them. It was quiet mostly. I did have to write a student up for sleeping, but that was it. They occasionally asked a neighbor for help quietly, which I allowed. It was a good class. Then, the next class, I actually told them they could ask a neighbor for help quietly if they needed to. Big mistake. The classroom became chatty and I had to tell them to quiet down multiple times. Then one kid convinced me they were supposed to have a book for the worksheet, and I only had two books in that class, so I let them share, making the classroom even more chatty. Despite this, it still wasn't a bad class and never really got out of control. It really showed me though, that students will take any boundary you give them and push it, as much as they can, especially since you're just a 'sub'.

The rest of the day was fine, just gave a couple kids a worksheet, hung out in the staff lounge and listened to real teachers talk, which was funny. The things teachers say about their kids and their jobs outside of the classroom....It made me want to be a teacher, not just a temporary stand-in for one. My last period was only 12 kids, so I let them work together quietly and that was fine. It was a good day overall, and I can actually see myself doing this whole teaching thing as a living, so that is a good thing.

So I took a look back in that writing book and decided to do that exercise that I said I wasn't going to do. It is because I was very bored waiting for my next class, but anyways, I guess the real point of the exercise to work on clearly showing an idea/feeling in one story starting sentence. So here's some story starting sentence pairs.

He came out slimy and bug-eyed, like some tiny crying alien from space. It was sad that what he remembered most about that fatal moment, was the foul smell after the bowels had let go.

The sun was shining down on the couple as they made their vows to each other on the golf course green. The phone rang and rang, meanwhile Eddie drank and drank, letting it ring, knowing it would be her or her lawyer demanding more money.

The days were growing longer and hotter while kids out of school continued to do nothing productive at all, which was perfectly fine with them. Snow was melting and rain was coming down daily, meaning only one thing for a small town with many dirt roads, Mud.

Other stuff,
It seems I may attain more followers any time now, depending on if a few family members stumble upon this blog somehow. I can only give a warning. I swear alot on this blog. I swear because it relieves stress, expresses how I feel at times, and is also the way I talk when I'm with my friends. We swear alot. I don't know why it just happens. So to me, swears make these sentences feel a little more real, like I'm having a real conversation with somebody, rather than writing a formal letter or something. Regardless, there it is. Time for this blog post to end. Peace out homeys.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bouncing, Writing, and Teaching

I worked Sunday night and it was...interesting. I was the only bouncer after 10 pm, and the place got pretty busy for a Sunday. I was outside, carding everybody. It was pretty easy and pretty boring except I met someone. A bro. A serious bro. A certain serious kind of bro known as a 'lax bro'. This particular kind of bro is one who played or plays lacrosse, and considers himself pretty much the awesomest guy ever because of this fact that they play(ed) a sport. So this bro comes outside to smoke, and we chat. It happens often, actually, people who are hanging around outside and drunk like to chit-chat. It's fine, mostly kind of boring, but it's something to do other than stand around doing nothing. So this bro and I chat it up for a little bit. The first conversation is not bad, but annoying. He says I'm not that big for a bouncer, and I respond well appearances can be deceiving, and he agrees, then he goes on to ask if I know any martial arts or something. At this point, I'm confused, what is this guy even talking about and why does he care? Later I realize he's just trying to know how 'tough' I am so he can compare how 'tough' he is. I tell him I played some sports, as soon as I mention lacrosse..."Oh you play lax, bro? Me too." Bam. Lax bro alert. I tell him I play defense, he says he plays offense and he would totally burn me or something similar. I just smile and nod, wondering when this conversation was going to end. Then he asks "How much you bench?" This question simply astounds me. Bench? Is this guy seriously asking me how much I bench? How is that a serious question outside of an actual gym, much less outside a bar/club at 11 pm at night. I tell him I don't really go to the gym that much, and this statement simply confuses him. "You don't go the gym?" He asks it like he doesn't understand how a man, much less a 'lax bro' like himself, does not go to the gym. Sorry I don't have time and money to waste pumping iron meanwhile I'm working as a bouncer and substitute barely managing to pay rent. Yeah, I don't go to the gym often, sue me. The conversation continues, some people go inside and think he's a bouncer, despite wearing a t-shirt and jeans. After, he says 'People always think I'm a bouncer for some reason.' "Well, you're standing right on the other side of the door just like I am..." He replies with "Nah, it's cuz I'm friggin' jacked." I just smile and nod, hoping against hope he will finally finish his goddamn cigarette and go back inside. He finally does, with some final piece of wisdom, "Alright, time to go get some pussy." So yeah, interesting night.

Anyways, that was my experience with a lax bro. Onwards to better and hopefully more insightful things.

I am officially licensed to teach English grades 5-8, and 9-12. Not that that is going to help me get a full-time teaching position because I have no experience, but it's not like I can find fault with any schools that don't want a completely inexperienced teacher taking on full classrooms. The good news is I have become a substitute for a few school districts, so I will be getting experience and pay. So that's good.

Writing on Writing
I'm still reading this fiction-writing book, though very slowly, as I want to write about it on the blog, and my blog posts aren't exactly timely. Anyways, onto the next exercise, which is pretty lame. It's about how every story has a history, a background. Even though you want to start a story in the middle of things, you do need to introduce a background, a history to the events that are transpiring. A story with no history doesn't feel real. It feels made up, which is exactly what it is, but it shouldn't feel that way or nobody will want to read it. The exercise is essentially looking at stories and thinking about all the events that happened before the events on the first page, and then looking at your own stories. It's a good exercise, and there are times where my stories don't seem to exist until the events happen, so they have no past. It's something to work on and to keep in mind when writing.

As an example, I'll take one of the First Sentences I wrote in an earlier post, take the one about the ghost looking at his own corpse for example. The events that transpired before that very sentence are pretty obvious, the character died in some way and for some reason. Perhaps it will be a mystery as the ghost attempts to figure out why he was killed, revealing bits of the past at a time. That sounds pretty cool, if perhaps an idea that's already been done before.

The next exercise, (yeah two exercises in one post, crazy I know) is about writing two sentences that are opposites, like one about birth followed by one about death, marriage and divorce, love and hate, etc. I guess it's to get used to writing about different concepts, intertwining them together in a fluid way. It ends up just being kind of awkward and silly, to me, so I am refraining from doing it. I just don't really see the point in writing random sentences and putting them together.

I heard people actually read this thing occasionally, probably when there is absolutely nothing else to do, there are no more stumbles to stumble, no more website waves to internet-surf, no more shows and films to stream on netflix or download, and they are wracking their brains for anything at all to engage their minds in any way whatsoever. Regardless, the knowledge that anybody reads this has motivated me to continue posting when I can, when I feel like it, and when I feel I actually have something to write about.

"Interesting and witty quote that perfectly ends the blog post" -Someone witty/interesting/famous