Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Confessions of a Substitute Teacher Semester II at Leo High School

A teacher resigned over the Christmas break - a science teacher. I was asked to fill in the gap.

I taught English ( Composition/American, British and World Literature as well as genre seminars: Drama/Poetry/Novel/Essay/Short Story) from 1975 until 1993. After that time my duties in education were writing grants, soliciting support, editing and publishing Alumni Newsletters, conducting prospect research and generally advocating for the mission of the schools that employed me.

Yesterday and today, I tried to keep six sections ( Physics/Environmental Science and Chemistry) of young men busy and teach them something.

My knowledge of science is as broad, deep and accurate as my knowledge of the Byzantine workings of the mind of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan - tabula rasa, kids, tabula rasa*!

I arrive at Leo (yesterday and today) at 6:15 A.M. and meet Mrs. Washington of GFS Food Services in the parking lot and walk with that lovely lady in through the venerable portals of Leo High School. Those gates to wisdom welcomed Dr. Steven Reid, M.D. who played football for Northwestern University and went on to design football helmets. General George Muellner -George K. Muellner President Advanced Systems Integrated Defense Systems George Muellner is president of Advanced Systems for the Integrated Defense Systems business unit of the Boeing Company, responsible for developing advanced cross-cutting concepts and technologies, and executing new programs prior to their reaching the System Design and Development. General Muellner developeed the STAR Defense Systems used in Desert Storm I & II.

I can not operate all the devices on my now obsolete Cingular One LG Phone and barely understand the concept of the balanced check book; nevertheless, I was a classroom teacher.

Yesterday, I learned that I was without lesson plans and teacher manuals. No sweat.

I dusted off Lord Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philsophy and discussed the Atomists of the 6th Century and handed out a one page study sheet on Heraclitus.

We talked about this quote attributed to Heraclitus:

Upon those who step into the same rivers, different and again different waters flow.

Flux - extreme flux. I stepped back into the river - it is still very wet, but boy them waters is differnt.

More at the end of the week.

I may post photos that the Gents take of me - curled in the fetal position and whimpering like a whipped wet kitty.

* Tabula rasa (Latin: blank slate) refers to the epistemological thesis that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception.

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