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Mr. Dinger's Dilemma

Updated on May 30, 2016
Dean Traylor profile image

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher. He is a former journalist who has worked on various community and college publications.

 Originally posted on zazzle.co.uk...To make matters worse, the students were arriving. And nearly every one of those forty students were grinning from ear to ear when they saw the hapless and pathetic Mr. Dinger...
Originally posted on zazzle.co.uk...To make matters worse, the students were arriving. And nearly every one of those forty students were grinning from ear to ear when they saw the hapless and pathetic Mr. Dinger...

Mr. Dinger, the substitute teacher, perused the roster. His hand trembled as he attempted to swallow the encroaching nervousness stuck in his throat.

Forty! Mr. Dinger thought. His head ached and his stomach churned.Forty students were expected to fit in a cramped classroom. And he was going to have them for one agonizing hour until the bell rang and another set of forty students arrived.

To make matters worse, the students were arriving a minute ahead of the bell. And nearly every one of those forty students were grinning from ear to ear when they saw the hapless and pathetic Mr. Dinger standing in front of the classroom and nervously watching them enter.

The bell rang. Class was supposed to start. Mr. Dinger went to the TV monitor and rolled it in front of the classroom. It was what the teacher wanted, and being the humble substitute teacher, he followed the plan.

But, the bell didn't do the job. The students ignored it and kept their chatty and loud ways going. Their screams, shouts, and laughter reverberated off the walls of the small classroom. And, the din of it rang rudely in Mr. Dinger's ears.

“Uh, class,” Mr. Dinger said sheepishly, “we’re going to watch a movie.”

Nobody heard him above the din of cat-call, hollers, screeches and obnoxious giggles.

He tried again with a little for distinction in his voice "James Avery?" But it was to no avail.
He tried again with a little for distinction in his voice "James Avery?" But it was to no avail. | Source

Fear surged through Mr. Dinger. He wasn't being heard. How was he going to do his job? Then again, he thought about the orientations he had at the beginning of the year. Did they cover situations like this? He couldn't recall. A voice in his head kept saying: "What do I do? What do I do?"

He returned to the attendance sheet, If there was one certainty in a job that lacked it, it was the need to take attendance.

He started to read the first name: "James Avery?" But, his voice couldn't carry over the raucous banter.

He tried again with a little for distinction in his voice "James Avery?" But it was to no avail.

He sighed. Another trick he had picked up in his short career was to do a head-count of students and compare the number of them on the sheet. He did a quick count and discovered that no one was absent. At least this went smoothly; he felt very proud of himself.

But, a lingering problem persisted. He had to get the "lesson" started and get the students engaged in it. He believed he had a simple solution. He pressed play and headed for the light-switch.The movie had to get their attention. It had to, he kept thinking.

It wasn't. As he ventured through the cluttered rows, he made a cursory proclamation for the students to behave and pay attention. It was ignored. But Mr. Dinger felt he at least made an attempt to bring some control to the classroom.

He turned off the light, but the class was still illuminated by a plethora of cell-phones, I-Pods, and portable games.

He wanted to yell at the students, but he didn’t want to strain his throat, trying to raise his voice over the din. He meandered through the rows of students seated in their chairs --or on desks -- and made his way to the teacher’s desk. There, he spied a stack of referral forms. He thought of using it, but came to one simple conclusion: why?

He didn't know where to begin with this class.

He turned off the light, but the class was still illuminated by a plethora of cell-phones, I-Pods, and portable games.

He stood for a moment. The din grew louder as many of them turned their back to the TV monitor and carried on with their own distractions.

He thought for a moment. The referrals were on the table; his authority – even for a sub – was over them. Finally, he made a decision; he went behind the desk and sat down. He let the madness engulf the classroom. There was nothing he could do for the time being, except wait for the 50-minute class to end...and hope the next one wouldn't be as bad.

Source

© 2015 Dean Traylor

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    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 2 years ago from United States

      As a teacher and having been a sub a few times...believe you me, I can identify with poor Mr. Dinger. I started teaching in 1970 and retired in 2005. Had a brain tumor in 1990 and was foolish enough to return to the classroom again. I suppose I must have felt that I was enduring this stress for a worthy cause. I worked with exceptional children most of the years that I taught. Nice message and so authentic, my friend. whonu