oh no you didn’t…

Yeah, so, some knife was found in our classroom. Yeah, I thought to myself, weird, you know, these kids, like, haven’t seen much violence from them (none at all, actually, just random references to fights they’ve been in, but fist fights, not knife fights) so the rumor of the found knife swept with a hushed whisper through our classroom… “Why would someone bring a knife to school?” the kids asked, my good sweet kids, they know the rules, they are angels underneath their paper-ball-chucking ways though they write their names with graffiti-tag-style letters on their nametags; then i heard my name: “Ms. Muscato? Did you bring a knife to school for the peanut butter and jelly demonstration?” I rewound in my head to the lesson where i’d incorrectly put together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to demonstrate the importance of having things in the proper order, a la a well-structured paragraph. Yes, yes I did. And yes, yes I left it in the classroom. Cleaned it off, put the peanut butter in my bag, and left the knife on the bookshelf in the back. A butter knife. From the Cal State cafeteria. I’m a badass. Who knew. I didn’t get fired, I just went over to talk to our advising teacher, who told me that if it had been a child he could have been kicked out of school. I didn’t feel embarassed or anything (a kid later asked, “Weren’t you embarassed?” No, I wasn’t… because it was an honest mistake, and i was trying to teach them about paragraphs, and you know what? a butter knife should not be picked up and brandished ANYWAY, because if that’s true, anything can be a weapon, and if some kid is going to impale his classmate on the wire from his spiral notebook, then we have bigger problems. the same day, walter c. wrote my name in graffiti-tag letters for me, so now i’m officially on the fringe of urban culture today.

today’s top 5, in no particular order:

-fudgsicle from the cafeteria after dinner!
-laying in the grass in the sun
-not teaching for four hours
-minor breakthrough with h., the attitudinal princess
-buying a plane ticket home!

what if you were a disorganized, semi-incompentent freak at teaching (DS-IFAT)? what would that look like? welllll…. let’s just pretend. this is totally pretend. this did not actually happen. totally fiction. (we did a venn diagram today of fact versus fiction… it was supposed to take half an hour, but they quickly got the point when, uh, the distinction could be boiled down to: Real. Fake.)

ok, so if you were DS-IFAT, in fiction-world, you might:

1) YOU SEEM NORMAL WHEN YOU: have students pick from four pre-approved research topics when doing final history reports. BUT IT’S CLEAR YOU ARE A DS-IFAT WHEN YOU: miscommunicate with your co-teacher about how much freedom students will have in brainstorming their topics for their final projects. students might accidentally be allowed to brainstorm any topics they want and then vote on four to select from as a class. topics might then be: The Jurassic Period. The Ice Age. World War II. The Battle of Troy. (Yes, The Battle of Troy. Extremely factual.)

2) YOU SEEM NORMAL WHEN YOU: attempt to help students find actual information about their topics by pre-researching yourself on the internet when you have a million other things to do — most notably, sleep. BUT IT’S CLEAR YOU ARE A DS-IFAT WHEN YOU: are incapable of finding child-friendly web sites with basic info about said periods, and end up spending four waking hours searching google with pleas like “how to teach kids about basic ice age.”

2) YOU SEEM NORMAL WHEN YOU: have lots of handouts and overheads for students. IT’S CLEAR YOU ARE A DS-IFAT WHEN YOU: throw said handouts into a pile so that when you begin to teach, you have no idea when to hand out what, and your overheads start flying all over the place, and they’re _clear_ which doesn’t help matters.

3) YOU SEEM NORMAL WHEN YOU: start writing a blog entry about your day. IT’S CLEAR YOU ARE A DS-IFAT WHEN YOU: realize you are so tired you used the number 2 twice in your list and just realized it now. yes. i can teach small children. yes.

a short play

TITLE: A reenactment of events that are about to take place

VOICEOVER: We are sitting here today in a simulation of the small dark dorm room of Lindsay Muscato. Let’s watch as she reenacts what happened this summer in Long Beach as she slowly lost her fucking mind. LM stares ahead blankly. Stares. Stares. Stares. Eyes open extremely wide. Falls off chair.

this has happened to me lately. lately as in in the past four months:

-soaked up springtime in chicago, with eliina living downstairs and her beerful fridge and our adorable as adorable little spanish-speaking ninos neighbors
-broke my fingers on the neofuturist stage
-was in an improv show with my favoritest folks
-met a boy named matt who has caught my heart in his fist like a goldfish and so it goes
-quit my jewishesque job
-drove through the countryside asleep as can be, but it whispered to me in my dreams on the way to florida
-slept on the beach on the gulf coast of florida, and woke up with white sand in my eyelashes and everywhere like i was meant to be coated in a fine dust
-watched caleb breathe fire on a starry beach night
-flew on a sad night to los angeles, and arrived on a dizzy morning to teach for america orientation
-am now slogging painfully and purposefully and relentlessly and sickeningly through the most ridiculous human experience i can think of at the moment, but only because i’m feeling self-centered and uncreative, i am sure there are worse things

i have lessons to write and worksheets to create; i have children’s lives to attempt to shape, i have questions to ask and no answers to tell, i have a dorm room and a laptop and necklace with a shell that reminds me of the moon and a beach and the night and no matter what i say next it’ll never be right. write. right. write.

i am missing this right now, missing writing, missing pouring out words without caring without thinking just bleeding. i am missing everything about language and the beauty of it. and i’m supposed to be teaching english. but our words are always homogenized and ostracized for being just too fancy when you’re teaching from a textbook that loves american culture so much it forgets about the others. so i am teaching a text that i swear could be taught to third-graders, and these 13 year-olds are looking so bored, and i want to tell them — it’s ok! it gets better! but i can’t tell them that because i don’t know it’s true; whether anyone will ever give them a chance to catch up and to dive in to what they can really do. zoom zoom, kids. which way is out?