High School is a Warzone.


My English Teaching Competition.

I am currently in the process of applying to be a NZ registered teacher. (I confess I have given up on the fast food industry ever wanting me, big sigh) Its a simple enough procedure. Fill in some forms, send them all my certificates and glowing references ( minus the bits where i swore at some rugby boys for putting condoms on my windscreen) and pay a large registration fee. In four weeks I should be legally allowed to teach in a NZ secondary school.

Except, I dont think I will be able to cut it. Times have changed since i was last in the workforce. High school is a warzone now and you have to be a warrior to make it out alive. Case in point – JB’s English teacher is a virtual demi-goddess to her teenage class. She has tattos everywhere and numerous body piercings, including some in her neck. (See how lame i am, i never even knew that people were piercing their necks these days…) Not only that, she has a black belt in Kendo ( think long swords and kickbutt women in Kill Bill)and she likes to recondition cars and motorbikes in her spare time. And she has a Facebook page that she wants all her students to be-friend – ‘if you’ve got any questions about the homework, just FB me!’ She’s all that and more. She’s a genius who started at university when she was 15 and she’s currently working on her PhD thesis. While teaching packs of adoring teens. JB is not the only one who’s in awe of her. While he’s raving about her qualities, HRH has got an amazed expression on HIS face – ‘Wow son, she sounds like the perfect woman!’ ( I am overwhelmed by an inexplicable desire to kill the Kill Bill teacher. With a wooden spoon.)

This wondrous specimen of womanhood is not an aberration at my childrens school. No. Sade’s teacher is a cage fighter on the weekends. Thats right. She engages in free-for-all fights in front of screaming blood thirsty crowds. And apparently shes quite good at it. (They googled her.) And she also teaches the Bring it on Cheerleading dance club after school.

I dont understand. What happened to little old ladies with grey hair and sour expressions who would make you fall asleep in class? Back in the day when i was teaching, I was considered the cool teacher. The one who kids wanted to be like when they grew up.

But now? How can i possibly compete? How can i impress any kid and get them to listen to me now? ‘Hiya, mother of 5,coming right at ya…’ Doesnt really instill awe in anybody. I suppose i could lie and tell them : “Hi my name is Ms Young, but you can call me Blade – thats my stage name for when i compete in American Gladiators. These bags under my eyes? Bruises from my sparring session with Jet Li last weekend. This scar on my left knee? Bungee jumping off the Sky Tower last month and misjudged the rope a little…got a little scrape. Your old teacher was the stunt double on Kill Bill? Huh, wimpy stuff. Has she swum with sharks? Danced with crocodiles? Played chicken with the bulls in Spain? Thats what i live for – danger. I walk on the wild side. Every day. Your other teacher is the cheerleading instructor?! Pshaw – you wanna see some real moves? Check out my pole dancing routine on YouTube. Now theres some gymnastics for you! Here you all are, Im giving out free autographed copies of my latest rap CD. Where I do a few numbers with Eminem, you know, teaching him a thing or two about what real music skills are…”

(Hear that? Those screams of derisive laughter and ridicule? Thats the sound of my teenagers mocking my attempts to be BAD.)

No. I wont be able to impress teenagers with my coolness factor. But i do have a secret weapon in my armory. Its called – Lani’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.

If all else fails – food can always buy you friends and awestruck admirers.

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One comment

  1. Why am I just seeing this post? I almost cried with laughter. My dad just decided to be a microsoft office teacher in a public charter school in the bad part of dc. Think metal detectors as you come in, fire hazards b/c all the doors are locked so no one can get in or out. (Pretty much the real life version of thr movie Lean on Me) He comes home every day and hugs me and my sis because "I understand what a good child really is now." Honestly, he's a hit with the students. I think its because he's mean. Like he's a bully and people think it's funny. When students act up, he does the same thing they do to annoy them. He can joke with the best of them and I'm sure one day I'll get a call saying that he was fired because he made a child cry. But NO! The kids love him. Some say thats their favorite class. They love it, and I think, I hated him as a child…why? My solution is hte same as yours. School has changed….a lot.

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