Monday, April 26, 2010

This must be a union thing

posted Fri, 22 Dec 2006

At my friend Anita’s suggestion, I applied to be a substitute teacher in the Memphis City schools. Apparently, I have been found acceptable and been invited to a two-day orientation – from 8:00 to 4:00 each day – in January. These are the instructions they emailed me:

You need to bring the following documents to orientation: an official copy of your college transcript(s) (photocopies are not acceptable), a recent photo of yourself that we may keep (photocopies are not acceptable), two (2) copies of your driver’s license and social security card (both must be in the same name) it is imperative that you bring copies of these items, we do not have access to a copy machine at the TLA. We will disperse other employment documents that must be completed at orientation, please bring a pen to complete these documents. You cannot begin working as a substitute teacher until all required documents have been submitted.

These are my questions. (I am not even going to address the bad grammar in the note.)

What on earth can they spend two days telling me about babysitting in a classroom? I was a sub in Austin eleven years ago and all I needed there was not to have TB and not to have a criminal record. I think Austin City school kids do a lot better than Memphis City school kids do. I would go to the school, go to the main office, find out which class I was teaching, get the folder, and spend the day keeping the kids from killing each other. Sometimes, there was actually some learning.

Why do they need my social security card? I have been working W2 jobs since I was 14 years old and have never, ever, ever had to show my social security card. Not once. I’ve given my number, but never my card.

I don’t have a card. I’ve never had a card. I have a number, but I don’t have a card. If I have to go through the hassle of getting a card, I might blow off this entire thing. Not worth it.

But this is the most pathetic requirement:

“Please bring a pen.”

It was bad enough when I was completing the online application. The degree to which they gave instructions was insulting. The equivalent instructions for washing dishes would have been, “Now put your hands in the soapy water, hold the dishrag in one hand and the plate in your other hand, and move the rag against the dirty dish. Do that until all the food is removed from the dish. Lift the dish out of the soapy water and move it to the other sink. Turn the water on and rinse the soap off the dish and place it in the drying rack. When all the water has dried off from the plate, put the dish back into the cupboard and close the door.”

Seriously. The instructions were that basic and maybe even more so, which made me wonder about the level of intelligence that they expect from their teachers. Now that I see the reminder to “bring a pen,” I am sure they are accustomed to hiring the mentally challenged. Who walks around in everyday life without a pen in her purse? Who? Who? Who goes to any sort of business meeting without a pen?

OK. Yes. I know. A lot of people. I have been asked more times than I can count to lend pens because I of course am always prepared with at least one pen, if not more. At the airport going through customs, on the plane getting ready to land, half the people don’t have a pen. At The Store, people paying by check don’t have a pen. At the library, they supply those stubby little pencils. My tax dollar, paying for pencils for poor planners.

Penless people!!! Walgreen’s sells pens cheap! Hotels give them away! They are not hard to find!

And you. Memphis City Schools. Shame on you. Shame on you for not having higher expectations. No wonder these schools are in such crummy shape and the students do so poorly. My goodness. If you expect so little out of your teachers, what do you expect from your students?

I guess I’ll find out in 16 long boring unpaid hours.

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