The ugly truth about teaching

I am a teacher.

TV and movies make teaching look like such an instantly rewarding job. But they don’t warn you just how much of the job sucks. And I mean epic sucking.

I first discovered that maybe teaching wasn’t the best career on the planet when my first-year newspaper staff staged a coup against me. They lost, but it was pretty unpleasant for a while there. They made t-shirts to protest against me and everything.

Once that issue was out of the way, I thought it was going to be smooth sailing. My kids liked me, and I figured out that I was, despite feeling like I had no clue what I was doing, actually a pretty good teacher.

But there’s so much that they don’t prepare you for when you’re in college education classes.

Like the vomit.

Remember when you were in school and a kid would get sick in class—and complete and utter anarchy would ensue? Well when you’re the teacher, you have to DEAL with that situation.

The first time that happened to me, I wasn’t remotely prepared to deal with it. A girl in my class started throwing up, and the room was filled with this horrible, banshee-like scream. Which I eventually realized was coming from me.

Because I was the teacher, everyone looked at me to do something. So when I stopped screaming, I did the first thing I could think of: I grabbed a trashcan and put it in front of her, so she’d stop throwing up on the floor.

Unfortunately, aim can be tricky when it comes to projectile vomit, and she missed the trashcan entirely, hitting the desk across the aisle from her instead. At this point my entire class ran out of the room. Several of the kids were never heard from again.

They don’t warn you about that in teacher school.

They also don’t prepare you for the inappropriate reactions that kids can have. A boy insulted a girl in my class one time. They were literally in opposite corners of the room when it happened, and the girl responded by spitting a wad of gum the size of my fist across the room at him with such flawless aim that it landed right on his forehead, where it stuck.

The whole class froze for what seemed like an hour while he processed what had just happened, then everyone erupted, taking immediate sides in the battle royale that was about to break out.

I pulled the offending girl out in the hall before the kids could kill each other, but was then faced with a new dilemma: what do you SAY to a girl who spat a massive chunk of gum across an entire classroom? Good aim? Can you teach me how to do that? I wound up just sitting on the floor next to her and asking her to not spit her gum anymore.

But I have to say, she might have been on to something; I never heard anyone insult her ever again after that incident.

But there’s one thing about teaching that makes it all worthwhile: I can use all the stuff that happens as material for my next book!

Oh and there’s the whole educating the youth of America thing. I guess that’s important too. If you’re into that kind of thing.