The Metaphorical Malfunction

The school year has started for the rest of the district which means more opportunities for me to work every day. After Monday’s sub job however, I knew for my mental health I needed to wait about a day before subbing again.

Monday started out great. I was happy to sub at a high school where I felt very comfortable. I was pretty excited to teach English.

But my excitement waned after first period.

First period was an honors English class full of sophomores ready to take the information I presented and work dutifully with a partner with minimal noise. Nice, right?

Then I get two periods of seniors who baffled and frustrated me to my wit’s end.

These are actual conversations from my day:

Student: I need to use my phone.
Me: (Gave Student a Look since NO PHONES was explicitly stated at the beginning of class)
Student: I need quotes for my assignment and my book is on my phone.
Me: (Silently cursing technology) Sorry. You’ll need to borrow a friend’s book. No phone. (Is he allergic to pages? Why did he not even think to borrow his partner’s book sitting next to him?)

Two students approach me.
S1: We need to use our phones.
Me: (Looks at both students and tilts head ever so slightly)
S2: We need to look up these words. We don’t know what they mean.
Me: (Slowly) You don’t know what SIMILE and METAPHOR mean?
S1: Well, we do but we don’t.
Me: So you don’t know.
S2: It’s hard to put it into words.
Me: (Eyeing all of the teacher’s books in the back of the room) Hmmm… maybe you should look up those words in the dictionary.
Students walk away and come back a few minutes later.
S1: All the teacher had was [were] thesauruseseses [sic] and they don’t have those words.
Me: (Thinking out loud but also too lazy to get up) All of these books in an English class and not a dictionary among them. (Reached for a textbook on the table) Did you try looking them up in the glossary?
S2: Yeah. We couldn’t find them.
Me: Do you use this book? No, the one under it. (Still, same publishing company. Different grade.) I find that very odd that an English textbook would not have a glossary. Hmmm… Well. Look here. Here is SIMILE… and here is METAPHOR.

People do not have to wait for a zombie apocalypse. It is already here.


The day doesn’t end until I share with my day with my kids. My son said, “They DON’T KNOW what those words mean?” My older daughter said, “Our teacher said to flip over our book and open the back cover until you see the glossary.” Then I make them promise me that they won’t ever act like any of these zombies.

So far, so good.

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