Your RDA of Irony

Why I Am Unfit To Be a Teacher

So, what would I do if I ever grew up?  (Public relations was never meant for adults.)  I have thought about teaching history.  As you readers know, I do that without being asked.  Why not make a career of it?  However, before I apply for a masters degree in becoming Mr. Chips, my wife offered a word of caution.  Try substitute teaching; experience all the disillusioning reality before committing myself to a year’s worth of college classes.

And that is what I am doing–or at least attempting.  I have contacted the surrounding school districts and begun filling out their application forms.  However, I am amazed at the differences in their questions and criteria. (The names of the school districts have been changed to protect the guilty.)

At “Ordinary People” High, where the school yearbook portraits are by John Singer Sargent,  the application asked:

Can you speak English without using your hands?

Under what circumstances, if any, would you mind a student beating you with a polo mallet?

At “Risky Business” High, the ideal applicant is a professor of education who wants to go slumming.  Its form had some dozen essay questions on my educational methodology.  I replied that as a substitute teacher I was hoping to take a fairly-accurate attendance.  (I would be wary of any class where the boys all claim their names are Dick or Heywood.)

“John Hughes” High seemed obsessed with my criminal activity.  Its application was a litany of accusations and self-incriminations.

Why should we believe you?

List your gang insignia tattoos.

What would you most enjoy about being a Catholic priest?

And I mustn’t forget a letter of recommendation from my parole officer.

Perhaps I should delay adulthood and stay in public relations.








  1. Hey now, there Mr. Finerman, quit the digs at Catholic priests. We Catholics are pretty sensitive these days, we’ve got enough on our hands with electing a new Pope. Give us a break. Having said that, I think you would be a fabulous history teacher. However, your wife is wrong in thinking that being a substitute will give you experience with teaching. My husband, who received his Master’s in Library Science last May and has yet to land a full-time library job (he has a part-time one at the Indianapolis Public Library) has also been doing substitute teaching at our local middle and high school. The problem is that when you are a substitute teacher there is no teacher part to the substituting. The real teacher has left things for the kiddies to do, like watch a movie or work on an essay on their laptops, etc. So, as a substitute teacher your job is to make sure they do those things without pulling out their iPhones and texting everyone they know for the entire class. Sigh…

    Rots o ruck, as girl with buck teeth used to say to someone else on TV many years ago. (Of all the things I ever lost, you know what I miss the most). Double sigh…

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