Something I think I was vaguely aware of before, but definitely am aware of now, was the practice of teachers leaving movies for when they have substitutes in. Now, on certain days this makes a lot of sense – days when you know you won’t have a lot of kids (e.g. the day before break, snow days, when most of the class is on a field trip). It even makes sense if it relates to what you’re doing – I’ve seen episodes of Band of Brothers in class, as well as many other history movies. Drama seems be a subject that often suffers from movies with when there’s a substitute – usually because there’s no guarantee of actually having someone who is qualified/comfortable in the subject area. Given that I am qualified, I’m constantly baffled by the choice of movies being left for these classes. Do they leave Shakespeare or anything like that? No. If they leave a movie it’s often something totally random – like Contact, Remember the Titans (ok that was in an English class), Big Fish, The Princess Bride, Moulin Rouge…etc. The last one you can make a case for by saying it’s a musical – but is it the most appropriate movie for a school setting? Not really.
Don’t get me wrong – some days all I want is to pop in the movie, hit play, turn off the lights and get paid for babysitting the little monsters. But I find it funny that this is considered to be the go-to plan when there’s a substitute. In the school board I word for you have to be a qualified teacher with a Bachelor of Education to even be a substitute. In theory then, teachers should be able to leave actual work for the substitute to teach. Granted, often times the substitute will spend more than half the class just trying to get some classes to settle down. Or will have to call down to the office in an effort to locate kids who said they were going to the bathroom and just never came back.
The kids all expect it too – if you see a substitute, they know it’s at least a 50% chance they’ll be watching a movie. I suppose as a kid I was always excited about that stuff too now that I think about it. I do enjoy when they try and bargain with me to get a “better” movie.
Student: Can we watch Inception instead?
Me: No dice. I’ve seen it and it just pissed me off. That ending was total balls.
Student: You have a point, but we wouldn’t finish the movie by the end of class – so you wouldn’t have to sit through the ending again.
I did enjoy getting to re-watch Remember the Titans – but the period ended before the movie which was annoying. I almost stayed in the room on lunch so I could keep watching it by myself.