I was hired to teach algebra remediation for two weeks starting today, but none of the students assigned to me, and only me, showed up.

I was put to work making phone calls to parents of absent students, and just as I picked up the phone to make the first call, an administrator walked into the room frustrated and in a bind. One student signed up today for remediation in reading comprehension, a fifth grader, which would have been fine because there are teachers teaching that subject this summer, but the reading comprehension test that the student will be taking is entirely in Spanish and none of the summer school reading teachers can help him prepare for it. I butted into the conversation between that administrator (who speaks Spanish) and the summer school principal (who doesn’t), and said, excitedly, that puedo hablar en espanol un poco, y leer tambien, y puedo hacerlo (!!) please please please PUHLLEEEZZZ

I don’t really speak Spanish. I pretend to. But the words come out correctly more often than not, and the only thing holding me back from reading fluently is my lack of vocabulary.

The truth is that I speak it as often as I can, and almost always when I’m drunk, but I’m not even close to fluent. I want to be, though.

I was out of my skin excited about teaching a different subject, because how often do I get to? Never. Minus the next two weeks. Because today I was assigned the duty of teaching reading comprehension to a fifth grade student in Spanish. I’ve never taught reading or writing, not in English nor any other language, but starting tomorrow I get to. I would have done it for geography, too. Or history. Or anything. Latin.

E pluribus unum.

I have that one down.


This is going to be way more fun than that stinky algebra stuff.

There is no curriculum available, so I downloaded a released state test for he and I to work on.

The first reading piece is about Archimedes, a famous Greek mathematician and physicist. The story used in the test is one of my favorites to tell. In a nutshell, a king asked a guy to make a crown of solid gold. The king didn’t believe the new crown was all gold, so he asked Archimedes to determine whether he was duped. While sitting in his bathtub, Archimedes was struck with an epiphany that enabled him to prove to the king that the crown was indeed pure gold. So the weirdo jumped out of the tub and ran down the street naked screaming, Eureka! Eureka! Though the version in the test does not mention he was naked, it does acknowledge that the man was a nut job. Which he was.

Funny story.

So as I was typing into Google Translate, I pressed the space bar too soon while typing a word and, appearing before me on the screen in the middle of Archimedes’ moment of insanity was the word “wildebeest.”

Word fact #3: Spanish for wildebeest is nu.

I will now refer to the animal, both in literal context and when used as a metaphor, as beest or nu.


Wow, I’m sleepy, and I have a very exciting day ahead.


Buenas noches.



Author: uncaged

When Picasso painted a blue Seated Woman in a Chair, he was unconsciously thinking of me.

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