SUBSTITUTE TEACHER, GHETTO CLASS, AND A BROKEN CLOCK

My freshman year of high school, I took a pre-algebra class because it was easy. This class was bad though. One time, we had this substitute teacher who thought she’d let us play board games, put on a movie, and relax. Wasn’t happening. It was so hood in this class.

A couple kids were hitting beats on a desk and rapping in the corner of the classroom. Two students were trying to mind their own business and play chess quietly, then this big Mexican dude came up and said, “I’m playing now, I been waiting” and jacked their chess board. I don’t think he even knew how to play chess, he just wanted to punk them for the board. The class was loud and getting out of control.

As soon as she hit the lights and turned around to put the movie on this little dude named Mario walking in the front of the class looked around, smiled, finished his soda, and then threw the empty can towards the back of the class. Chaos ensued. Everyone started throwing shit: paper, pencils, pens, calculators, chess pieces, I took change out of my backpack and chucked it.

The teacher bent down below her desk to take cover. It was dark so you couldn’t see anything, but you could hear stuff hitting the walls. Then someone threw a quarter and it shattered the clock above my head. Glass went everywhere. That pretty much ended it. She turned on the lights and called security. Everyone sat back at their desks.

Security came and kept asking who did it. One of the students who got jacked for the chess board yelled, “hey, someone stole my Gameboy!” Complete silence, no one said anything. The substitute started picking up the broken glass and said, “no one is leaving until we find out who broke this clock and he gets his Gameboy back.” This was the last class of the day and school was almost out.

My dad was picking me up and he did not like me coming out late. I walked up to the substitute and said, “hey, my dad is picking me up and he is gonna be pissed if I’m not out on time.” She said, “I don’t care, I’ll deal with him when he gets here.” I said, “I don’t think you understand, he has a temper and he’ll yell at you.” She said, “trust me, I can deal with it…now sit down!” We stayed in that class for another 20 minutes, they finally let us go, and she walked out with us towards the front of the school.

My dad was walking towards us at the same time. His temper was ridiculous when I was younger and was heated. This was the first time in my life I was glad he was pissed. I felt excited, like I knew I was about to unleash a pitbull on an unsuspecting robber. He yelled at me, “where were you?! I’ve been waiting!”

I turned around with all the students and gave the double point to the substitute, “she kept us.” He went off WorldStar style. Her face turned bright red. All the students started hyping my dad up, “get her ass! She wouldn’t let us leave!”

He started painting all these imaginary “what if” scenarios she had no answer to, “you will not keep my son after class! What if he had to come home to watch his sister because we don’t have daycare! She’s only 8!! She’d just be home alone?! I took off work early and left a meeting! Did all these other kids miss their bus?! Did you call their parents?!! Now they have to walk home?! What if they had to be home to take care of someone with a disability? What would you do if someone got kidnapped?!!”

She looked at me for help, eyes beginning to water. I just bit into an apple I’d been saving all day and said, “told you he’d yell at you.”