Teacher

Inspired by Jamaica Kincaid’s Girl.

Xerox the exit slips[1] on Monday and cut them into rectangles; Xerox the attendance sheets on Friday and leave them in your clipboard; don’t erase the previous night’s homework until it’s on the website; bookmark the pages you want to reference during class; keep the desks in straight rows; when answering a question about what you did over the weekend, be vague, lest they learn anything about your personal life; is it true that you ran into an 8th grader on the Jersey Shore boardwalk in a romper[2] last spring?; always check your teeth for poppy seeds after breakfast; before a double-period, make sure you use the restroom; don’t play questionable music during freewriting[3]; but I was three hours from the city — am I not supposed to wear rompers on the beach three hours away?; this is how to put up a bulletin board; this is how to make a grading rubric; this is how to comment on a terrible essay; this is how to comment on a mediocre essay; this is how to comment on a mediocre essay when you know the students’ parents are getting divorced; this is how to write emails to families; this is how to upload photos to create a newsletter; don’t try to include photos of everyone, because it won’t happen and the parents will wind up complaining about something anyway; don’t lecture for 45 minutes, but don’t show too many movies; when a student wants to share, let him; this is how to make sure your skirt is long enough so you don’t run into another romper situation; this is how to teach a book that you despise; this is how to hold a conference[4]; this is how to remain calm during a conference; this is how to show evidence of student work during a conference, and if that doesn’t work you can ask the student to come in, and if that still doesn’t work don’t feel too bad about failing her; this is how to refill your coffee mug during breaks; this is how to leave work for a sub; always write clear instructions on worksheets so students can work independently; but where is a safe distance to go away for the weekend?; you mean to say that after all this you still think you’re going to have any free time this year? TC mark

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