February 10, 2016

Mr. Cackling Hen's Grand Debut!

Today was a huge day for The Hen's new career - the first day in the classroom as Mr. Cackling Hen! I didn't get paid, I didn't teach anything, nor did I really talk to any chickadees, but I was back in classroom desks for the first time since USFSP mercifully passed me through their graduate program.

To become a potential substitute teacher, I sat in on a few classes, jittery off too much coffee and hungry for knowledge, experience, and a breakfast sandwich. And I knew today would probably be the big day where I was first introduced as "Mr. Cackling Hen." It was.

I started my scholarly, shadowy day to the noise, snot, and innocence of rambunctious 11 and 12 year olds. This is where I heard my inaugural introduction of "Mr. Cackling Hen." It was jarring, it was unsettling, but at least it felt appropriate in a room full of children. These kids are not my peers nor my friends, so I guess I should at least be a Mr. something.

For this 6th grade class, the students were reading a Shakespeare play (Julius Assange or something), and they were taking turns reading and acting out scenes in small groups. One student was absent, so the teacher looked through her roster for someone to pick up the extra lines.

Casual acting.
"Robbie, why don't you read his part?"

My hear skipped a beat. I had a feeling this day was going to be fun. This would be a great day to really interact with my future students, and also show them a thing or two about acting. Sure, I'd be a lot taller than the kids, but they'd learn a lot, and my personality and talents could shine in this little classroom. I imagined the laughter, the applause, and the teacher insisting to the principal that I get a full-time teaching position immediately. I'd probably have to teach drama classes, in which I have no formal experience, but that'd be okay. I could offer that outsider's, self-taught, perspective to these fresh minds.

Then some 11 year old with my name stood up and took my lines. And I went back to my quiet, humble debut as Mr. Something.


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