Thursday, March 31, 2011

Scenes from Miss O’s Real Teaching Life

Paper Work

Scene 1

[Lights up. MISS O’ enters in modern dress, carrying a large tote bag full of rolls of papers to be graded; books; a gradebook. In another bag is a laptop, in her arm is a teacher’s edition of her literature book.  She is in a hurry, all business, slings her stuff on the big desk. Bell rings.]

MARINA: [enters as the bell rings, crying out in heavy Spanish accent, carrying a paper, a schedule] Miss! Miss! My name is Marina! My name is Marina!

MISS O’:  Hi, hon. Where is your name? [MARINA points, here] Oh, Lesbia...oh! Is your name really Lesbia...

MARINA: It is Marina! Marina!

MISS O’: Oh, sweetie, has this been happening all day? [MARINA nods] Got it. It’s fixed, see? Marina. Honey, what were your parents thinking?

[Class noises subside, Marina smiles, Miss O' points out her assigned seat.]

MISS O’: Hello, class. I’m Miss O’, your English teacher for this year. Let’s take roll and see who’s here. [pronounces with ease:] César Aguilar. Jorge Alcocer. Fia Faivai. Sharlyn Fireoved. Farhad Gholizadeh. [stuggles:] Jock...Hahr-ees? Sorry. Jack. Harris. Jack Harris. Thanks. Su-ZAN Honas. Sorry? Jones. Susan Jones. Got it...Kapo Leung. Shunsuke Yasuda.

Scene 2

[JAZZ, an angry student, enters with members of the class, holding a paper, her report card. Really she only speaks in italics and boldface...and all caps.]

JAZZ: Ms., um, O’HAH!

MISS O’: My name is not Miss Um, Jazz.

JAZZ:   “Ms O’HAH!”

MISS O’: Yes, Jazz?


MISS O’: “Why come,” Jazz?

JAZZ: Why di’ you gi’ me a D?

MISS O’: I didn’t give you a D, Jazz.

JAZZ: [her face contorted in pain, as if she might cry] I KNOW.

MISS O’: Let’s look at the book...the whole world does not have to know about your D, Jazz.

JAZZ: [walking] No, for ruhl, for RUHL, Ms. O’HAH...

MISS O’: Angel, look at these zeros. These are on work we did IN class. I saw you working on it. You never turned it in. Why is that? And this test...

JAZZ: Ms. O’HAH! Oh my GOD. For ruhl! What can I do? WHAT CAN I DO?

MISS O’: [begins to frame a response, as the answers are basically the same (do your work, study for the tests, see me for extra help)....when suddenly]

JAZZ: [who has spied her friend Angie who had just walked into class, and their eyes meet and they double over in laughter, loud and uncontrollable, with the clapping of hands as punctuation. Jazz, her face full of smiles looks at a serious MISS O'] Ms. O’HAH! Did you ever see FRIDAYS? You ain’t neveh see that movie? Oh, my GAW, Ms. O’HAH, you gotta see that! That junk is messed UP! [looks to Angie, they collapse] It is messed UP! For ruhl, you have to see it... [JAZZ disappears over to Angie’s desk]

MISS O’: [to audience] And that is why come Jazz got a D.

[Lights change.]

JAZZ: [looks]

Scene 3

[Perhaps Miss O' diapers a baby in class, makes lunches, dispenses drugs, does an OB-GYN exam, or performs brain surgery; then FARHAD enters, holding papers.]

FARHAD: Miss O’, I am so sorry to bother you. [He proffers papers, torn envelopes; he begins giggling, embarrassed.] Can you, uh, can you read these?

MISS O’: What do you mean? What are they?

FARHAD: They are my bills, my family’s bills. My father doesn’t speak English, only Farsi, and he doesn’t understand how they can be so much.

MISS O’: Yeah, sure. Why not? Let me see…

FARHAD: He’s really mad about the cable.  [MISS O’ reads this.]

MISS O’: Farhad, you guys are getting, like, every channel and service known to cable. Do your parents know that?

FARHAD: What do you mean?

MISS O’: Well, I don’t even own a TV, but I know that cable has packages, like, they group certain channels together, and you pay for only those channels.

FARHAD: Do you have a pen? Wait, I do. I have to write this down. And write it in Farsi so my father will believe me.

MISS O’: You guys are getting Showtime, HBO on Demand…do you watch all these?

FARHAD: Only ESPN and CNN and BBC World News.

MISS O’: Um, look, can you get something from your cable company, bring that in, and we’ll pick a package together. How’s that?

FARHAD: Great! Okay…now tell me how to read the gas bill. I am so sorry! I have to explain this to him or he will have a stroke.

[bell rings]

Until next time, when we hear Kelli with an i say, "Um, oh my god, wait! It's 'between you and me,' right? Oh my god I totally get this now!" 

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