Preparing to go back to school

Published 3:22 am Saturday, October 3, 2009

When I was in school, the last place I wanted to be was in school. I mean, come on — as a kid, weren’t there so many other places you would rather have been?

You were stuck in a classroom all day, sitting at an uncomfortable desk, listening to someone talk about things in which you were not interested. All the while, you were certain that the rest of the world was out there, having fun without you.

Now, a few months shy of my 28th birthday, I am about to return to school. No. I am not going to be a student. I am going to try my hand at substitute teaching.

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Don’t worry. I do realize that contained in that statement is an alarming commentary on the status of our public education system.

Nonetheless, I am set up to spend some time with some of our local elementary school children next week. This is all well and good on the surface. But then I remembered one important thing.

I don’t remember what I learned in the fourth grade. Before you place a frantic phone call to Dr. Neil Hyche or Dr. Tony Speegle, let me rephrase that.

I still remember all my lessons and skills acquired in the fourth grade. I just don’t remember, specifically, which ones I learned in the fourth grade.

I was reminded of this fact earlier this week when I paid a visit to the class for which I will be subbing next week.

These young people are studying a variety of things ranging from vocabulary to reading to math to Alabama history. I don’t think I’ve had that well-rounded of a daily routine since my second sophomore year in college.

After that, everything became specific to the major that I had selected. So for the last few years, it has all been about writing and the things related to that.

Alabama history? Wow. There were Indians. I remember that. Which ones? That’s a tough one. We have a Choctaw County and a Cherokee County. From that, I deduce that we had Cherokee and Choctaw Indians. Am I close? I suppose I’ll find out soon enough.

Anyway, nearly 20 years after finishing the fourth grade, I am now certain that the rest of the world is not out there having fun between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. That conspiracy theory has since been proven entirely false.

Another theory that has since been debunked is my false assumption that teachers were needlessly mean and strict. Wrong. As an adult, I understand that kids in large numbers without supervision are dangerous. Think “Lord of the Flies.”

Anyway, I’m going back to school next week, and the smart bet may just be to pray for everyone involved, most especially me.