Lessons Learned – The Hard Way

Posted on October 21, 2014 under Storytelling with 2 comments

IMG_20141020_141841 (2)

Something to cure the first day jitters in the classroom



“Everybody’s working for the weekend …”

Working for the Weekend – Loverboy

Time has a way of blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Some events from our past are a distant memory; while others, even those more than fifty years old, can be recalled in vivid color.  Most of us over the age of sixty know exactly where we were and how we felt after hearing about the shooting of President Kennedy in Dallas on a Friday afternoon in November ‘63.  My wife can recall the phone number for the daycare our children attended 25 years ago.  Certainly we remember our first kiss, even if it may not have been memorable for the person on the receiving end.

Our parent’s generation, by and large, stayed in one occupation for entire work careers, often for the same employer. Baby boomers all over the world have begun to retire or semi-retire en masse.  Many of us who form this large, post-war cohort have tried our hands at a variety of jobs.   However, some of my friends bucked the norm and worked their entire lives educating young minds as school teachers.

I was a school teacher for three years.

Admit it. Just about everybody craves Friday.  After a long week of work, it is not uncommon to blow off a bit of steam.  Not surprisingly, teachers have been known to congregate at the end of a school week to compare notes.  Sometimes the new substitute teacher is the topic du jour.

I remember my first day of paid work as a teacher as clearly as my wedding day. It’s bad enough suffering first day jitters, but when the job is substitute teaching, it is particularly nerve wracking.

Unless you don’t have time to get nervous.

The sun was coming up as several of my fellow education students sat in the top row of the grandstands at Oland Stadium the morning after our graduation celebrations. We clinked our glasses one final time and I wandered home through the field and climbed in to bed at my mother’s house.  I glanced at the clock.  It was 6:30 a.m.

Exactly one hour later my mother was shaking me violently. I thought the house must be on fire.  “Get up!  You just received a call from the principal of the junior high school and he wants you to come and substitute.  I told him that you would be happy to go.  He wants you there at 8:00 sharp.”

You have to understand my mother’s work ethic. I was going to teach that day.  Full stop.  I tried to process this information but my neurons were definitely not firing on all cylinders.  I staggered to the shower and tried to regain consciousness.

I retraced my steps through the very same field that I had trodden only a few hours earlier to get to the school. I decided not to drive as it would have been very embarrassing to fail the breathalyzer on my way to my first job as a full-fledged teacher.  No amount of toothpaste or mints could disguise the tell-tale signs of the party that lingered on my breath.  I wondered if I should teach my lessons using sign language.

I survived the day and for some yet unknown reason was asked to come back again. Maybe I was causing uproarious hilarity in the staff room.  Having learned the fine art of lesson planning during my own tutelage, I went home and crafted one for the next day.  It consisted of exactly one sentence.

Never again party on a week night.

“Everybody’s goin’ off the deep end Everybody needs a second chance …”

Enjoy this? Visit the rest of my website to enjoy more of my work or buy my books!
Highland Hearing Clinic

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


2 Responses to Lessons Learned – The Hard Way

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.