Okay so the initial excitement about landing a teaching job, having a plan, the promise of paychecks and benefits is slowly dying. All the cuteness of the kids asking me to sign their yearbooks, clapping for me at the assembly when I was introduced and asking me “Are you a mom? Do you like puppies or kittens better? What candy do you like at movies?” has totally disappeared. It is being replaced by all different kinds and levels and layers of fear. Pure, unadulterated, might-pee-mah-pants fear.

A few weeks ago when I was interviewing for this position as a Latin, Spanish, and Drama teacher at a private Christian academy, they asked me “Okay so you have no teaching credential, no teaching experience whatsoever, you don’t know the Latin language…what makes you think you can do this job?”

I answered “Well, I love Jesus and I love kids..so…..?”

And it was enough. It worked. They hired me. Those fools.

As I sit here in a hotel room in Austin, Texas, (where its 100 degrees at 8pm. and a billion percent humidity. and there are bugs the size of my face. And I am rooming with an adorable old Japanese lady named Iris who said earlier at Applebees, “well, no one can accuse you of being shy.” ) preparing to attend a weeklong seminar on teaching Latin grammar to middle school kids, I am now asking myself “What makes you think you can do this job?” and the answer is “I don’t know I don’t know I immediately regret my decision! Get me out of here!”

I mean, Latin? LATIN?>! I don’t know Latin. I don’t even know enough Latin to know if I will like Latin. Let alone if I can teach Latin! I do like Latinos…maybe I had a psychotic break when I signed that binding contract and thought I was doing something with Latinos. I capital L Love Latinos. I could totally teach a Latino class. We could just sit and eat bean dip and chips all day long and listen to Juanes. Take field trips to the Monument Corridor.

But no, its Latin…the only Latin I know is carpe diem from “Dead Poets Society” (tragic, tragic film I saw in middle school that still haunts me) and I know there is some Latin to be found on the back of a dollar bill. That’s all I know. And that it’s a dead language. So, even if I become fluent after years of study, I can travel…absolutely nowhere! to go communicate with Latin-language-speaking people.
Except maybe back in time.

Oh man I just…I just don’t know if I can be a middle school teacher. All I remember about mine is that they had rules and wore shoulder pads and hose with runs in them and orthopedic shoes and had extremely long earlobes and smelled like old. Teachers have to give out bad grades and referrals and have parent conferences and send kids to the principal. I just want everyone to like me! I mean…discipline, structure, ugly, sensible clothing and organization? Not exactly my strong points.

On a bright note, however, junior highers are exactly my age group. Its right about my honest maturity level. I love fart jokes and being awkward popping zits and encouraging kids to be as cool as they dream they are. Because they’re still young enough that they won’t be the whole “too cool for school” that I get from my high schoolers sometimes. They’ll hug me and think I’m funny! I’ll have a captive audience for all my joke routines! Can I have them translate Chuck Norris jokes into Latin? Is that teaching? Can I give everyone an A for trying?

I am totally pumped about teaching Spanish. We will eat Los Panchos and pan dulce, watch Disney movies in Spanish, sing “La Cucaracha,” and learn the Mexican hat dance. And Drama? I’m such a dramatic person in real life I could teach that in my sleep. There will be lots of class improv, games, miming, karaoke…things I don’t have to take home and grade. And I guess I’ll figure out a way to handle Latin. Maybe I will change the class to “Laugh-in.” They sound similar. Parents won’t notice. I’ll just pass out popsicles and Bazooka Joes to the kids and we’ll read jokes to each other all day long.

Maybe I can fake it til I make it as a teacher. The kids are pretty cute…and I love buying school supplies and packing a lunch. So, yeah…I’ll do it. Afterall, I’m getting paid dirt and will live off Top Ramen and still have to nanny if I can ever dream of moving out of my mom’s….but can you guess who has two thumbs and summers off?