That One Time I Taught Middle School

It feels like I’ve done nothing in the past two years, but when I look back, I guess quite a bit has happened.

Shorty after I worked my butt off to finally launch the Mama’s Been Drinkin paperback, I (kind of) moved to Texas.  I was tired of renting (damn cost of living in Southern California), tired of traffic, and tired of pretty much everything.  I partially blame the fact that I was also watching way too much Fixer Upper, which I discovered in 2016. I know, I was way behind.  It made me miss people in Texas and southern hosptality, and Californians still don’t understand a delicious steak or brisket or fried okra like Texans do.

I met a friend of a friend at a Christmas party in 2016 who told me they had an opening at their school for a teacher for the upcoming school year. It’s a low income school in Dallas so it’s not as competitive to get a job and you can teach while you are taking online classes to complete your teaching certificate as long as you have a college degree and pass the required test for whatever subject you are teaching.

I thought maybe I would get my shit together and make the move back to Texas in six months and start teaching that fall.  My buddy called me over Christmas break and told me they had an opening if I wanted it.  Who needs time and reason?  I talked my ma into flying to LA a few days later and keeping me company on the 20 hour drive from LA to Dallas.

A couple of weeks later I was teaching a supplementary English class to 7th and 8th graders in the hood.  Most of my friends wondered why the hell I would get into teaching. Part of me wanted to inspire kids and all that junk. In my mind I was going to be a combination of Robin Williams from Dead Poet Society and Michelle Pfeiffer from Dangerous Minds.  But to be honest I also really wanted all of the vacation and summers off so I would have time to write and/or figure out what I really want to do when I grow up.

So toward the end of January 2017, I taught my first official class as a middle school teacher in the Dallas Independent School District. Coming into a Title I school mid school year as I new teacher was mostly a test in patience and classroom management.  I failed miserably at both, but more on that later.