Bad jobs

I currently hate my job. I wasn't scheduled to work until I got a job I wanted or my memoir got some enormous offer or I bit the bullet and returned to school. However, a teacher apparently went postal at this north shore high school but instead of shooting anyone he simply stopped working, grading papers, recording grades or giving homework assignments. So who do they call to come in and attempt to create some sort of order in the chaos. Me.
This isn't the first time I've taken on this sort of assignment. More like the fourth. Straight out of learning- to-be-a-high school English teacher school I was assigned to a failing CPS high school populated with gang members and recent emigrants. I was asked to report the morning of a heavy snowfall that trapped the teacher in her house because she was in a wheelchair. She was also on heavy meds and had taught nothing to any of her classes since school started in September. She slept and they made drug deals.
I showed up in January. My students were demoralized, angry, and largely unsupervised. So, I started teaching. At one point one of the Latin Kings jumped to his feet and said:
 "Why do you teach so much? All you do is teach and teach and teach."
"That's my job," I said. "You learn, I teach."
One of the Bosnian refugees raised her hand. "Will you stay?" she asked. This girl had survived the siege of Sarajevo.
"Yes," I said. "I'll stay."
Okay, that wasn't a bad job. It was a job that frequently made me cry and sometimes caused me to look incredibly stupid. Once two of my students in rival gangs started to verbally spar and it got ugly. I kept pushing a button on the wall but no one from security showed up. Finally one of the kids whispered, "Ms. M., That's just some old dead buzzer."
So, I ran next door and asked for help. A minute later the ROTC teacher charged in with his gun drawn and pointed it at my kids. "Get out," I said.
Another time two Chicago policemen burst into my classroom and arrested William who was finally starting to write about the books we were reading. They took him out in handcuffs and I ran after them and begged the one cop to put his copy of "The Grapes of Wrath" inside his backpack.
"I'll do my homework," William said. "You're a good teacher."
"He's a loser," one of the cops muttered.
"He's my student," I said. "You should be ashamed."
I showed a picture of my students to a friend and she said, "You call them your kids and they're grown men. They have beards."
Maybe. But they loved stickers and praise and being read aloud to and they bought me a huge cake on my birthday and sang to me in Spanish. They also offered to get rid of my ex-husband when we started divorce proceedings.
No, my worst job was some terrible period between getting fired from my publishing position by the boss from hell and getting a book deal with Harper & Row. I was living in New York, broke, desperately unhappy, in therapy, single and got this weirdly awful position with a blanket importer. It was a married couple that owned the company and I was in charge of the office. I filed and tried to believe that things could get better. The warehouse guy sat in the back and drank.
The woman who owned the place had this terrible screechy voice and she didn't want me to rearrange anything on my desk. Her husband drank also. When I quit the warehouse guy cheered and said, "You go, Molly. Find your dreams!" I wonder how he knew I had dreams.
I was also a fake patient in an unair-conditioned condemned hospital in Brooklyn during a very hot summer, and the assistant to a famous literary agent who drank too much at lunch. And a waitress. A line foreman, a minder of the children of battered women. Oh, the thing I love the most and possibly am best at, a writer.


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