substitute by nicholson baker
I read a good helping of this book sitting in a bookstore in Chicago last fall, but finally checked it out from the library so I can read the rest. Nicholson Baker is a writer who worked as a substitute teacher in Maine for 28 days to investigate some of his hunches about schools. I find his observations painfully funny and real. I also came into teaching by way of subbing and so his anthropological gaze feels familiar, but he also captures amazing verbatim kid and teacher dialogue, the strange flows of subjects and activities, and the long, slow march that 7 hours of school can be so well. It is sad in a lot of ways, but I also find it edifying to know that I am not the only one feeling, noticing, appreciating some of these dynamics. Plus--being a sub is just such a weird job full of weird great moments.