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And of course, when the i Pads are actually functioning, students are primarily playing games, watching You Tube, or listening to music on them.That doesn’t bother Baker at all, given what he considers the deadening alternatives on offer—and his own allergy to goody-goody obedience., that allergy intensifies.Rousseau’s ideas about education “only applied to men,” he explains to the class.“Women were supposed to serve and prepare and make everything, and then the men would be able to go wild and have a free existence.” Yet Baker is curiously deaf to his own rogue-to-the-rescue style as he warms up to the task of second-guessing the mostly female school staff that toils away in what he considers a killjoy fashion.) At 700-plus pages, Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids is a surprisingly hefty contribution to the life-of-a-teacher genre, especially given that Baker clocked only 28 days in the classroom—a place he’d love to liberate kids from.(He enjoyed a 1970s school-without-walls progressive education himself.Imagine the texted OMGs and weeping-laughter emoji had Baker’s students dipped into his notorious 1992 novel, Vox, an account of a man and woman having phone sex on a pay-per-minute chat line.

In his novel The Mezzanine, for example, he plumbs an office worker’s thoughts during an escalator ride; fireplace rituals receive punctilious attention in A Box of Matches. I’m a veteran teacher, and I won’t do it; it’s just too hard.The role magnifies the profession’s biggest challenges—the low pay, the insufficient time to plan, the ordeals of classroom management—into an experience that borders on soul-crushing.Busywork is just about all that teachers suspect subs can manage, a view Baker confirms as he struggles to keep a lid on the classroom chaos.School-issued i Pads provide portals to websites—Brain POP, Quizlet, Edmodo—that supply further distractions.

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