Honesty Time

Keeping it real since 2013

A typical day. Honestly.

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Welcome to my corner of Honesty Time. Who am I? What goes on in my life? Let’s take a look at one of my more recent Fridays at work to find out.


Hey, did you notice what time it is here? Yes. My day starts at 3:30am. Not because it has to. This is certainly not work related. If you’re a substitute and you have to wake up at 3:30am, you need to think about relocating or quitting or something. Seriously.

For me, I am awake because I have two cats who only sleep through the night on occasion. It’s as if they know. “Oh, hey, Mom needs to wake up at 5:50am. In cat time that’s gotta be right about now.” They hunt for food (it’s in the bowl, dummy, just eat it), they hunt for stuffed mice and sparkly pom poms, and they chase each other up and over my bed. Right about when I have finally realized that I am fully awake and my eyes aren’t burning and yearning for slumber, the buggers decide that it’s time for them to go back to sleep. So now I’m wide awake and the two princesses are passed out.

5ish am

Did you know that Full House is still in syndication on Nick at Nite? All of these hugs and dramatic outbursts are not making me feel any better about my life right now. But here I am, still watching, and I find that I’m actually feeling bad for Kimmy Gibbler. I know, weird, right? Sure, her feet smell, and yeah she sure does dress funny… but weren’t we all that kid once? If you think you were, at all times, as an adolescent, perfumed like the finest rose garden and always up on the latest trends, I urge you to go ahead and dig deep into the archives to look at some of your old photos. You were, at some point, a little bit Kimmy.


I think I fell asleep. My warning alarm goes off. I shut it off and roll over.


My alarm is ringing for real. “Teaching time!” with all of these cute, little school related emojis. I made this back when I was still student teaching. I was hopeful and easily motivated. But today, I still don’t know what I’m going to wear and I’m not even sure if I smell decent enough to interact with other human beings. Right back to Kimmy Gibbler.


I’m dressed. My face is on. My hair looks like I kind of wanted it to look this way on purpose. I have 5 minutes to make my lunch, my breakfast, clean the litter boxes, make my bed, decide if it’s spring or winter weather and which sweater or jacket should I wear, and get out the door. I shove a granola bar in my mouth and stick water, applesauce, and three yogurts into my lunch bag. Sorry, everything else. I’m not sorry. I just tell my housemates… uh, parents that I am, because they have to endure the smelly cat poop until I get home.


I have made it out of the suburban streets, gotten away from the school buses, and made it to the Parkway. I’m making really good time. Go, me!


Craaap. Jinxed it.


Still haven’t moved very much. It’s time for me to put on my special little iPod. I’ll endure traffic by sobbing to “For Good” from Wicked, having both terrible and fantastic memories come to mind as I sing “I Will Never Leave You” from Side Show (and, depending on which students/children I see/talk to today, I will probably sing it at least 3 more times), and having a full-scale production of Little Shop of Horrors when “Skid Row” comes on. Sorry, I’m not sorry to the people sitting next to me in traffic. Enjoy the show.


I have finally made it off of the highway and onto the main street. Almost at school. I hope there’s parking.


The bell rang already. Did you know that teenagers do not know how to walk on the right side of the hallway? It’s more like some weird amoeba action going on. I don’t understand.


15 freshmen in this class. Did I mention that I am almost always a substitute for the visual/performing arts academy classes at this school? I am still a bit groggy and the kids are definitely already at 130%. At least they like to share pictures of sloths with me once they’re done with their assignments. Sloths. I needn’t say more.

Buttercup. Image from http://www.slothsanctuary.com/

Buttercup. Image from http://www.slothsanctuary.com/

Buttercup invites you to click and read about the rest of my day. Inside: MySpace, pee, clowns, awards, the F-bomb and more!


Freshmen. Again. The first class was in the media room but I also have to go teach the drama classes for the rest of the day. Same 15 freshmen, plus 15 more freshmen, fresh from a dance class. They are at about 376%. They are working on monologues and actually behaving, just very loudly and excitedly. For a Friday, I’m impressed.


Less than 20 minutes left with them and now it’s all about the selfies. Excuse me, but back in my day we called them “MySpace pics!!!11!!!1” Then eventually they were “Mirror pics,” which seems to have evolved into the modern day “selfie”.

I have learned from them that if you don’t take selfies, you must be an unconfident loser who has no one to “like” their pictures (Kimmy Gibbler), but if you take too many selfies, you are stuck up, annoying, and probably seeking attention. You also probably lack self confidence (duck face girls, who back in my day were known as “kissy faced gangstas”). I’m not certain what the in between is, and who on this social media infested Earth is not affected by these rules.  What if I just really think my outfit is cool and I want to share it with people by taking a picture of myself, sideways, on my iPhone, in the mirror, with my flash on (OotD, they tell me. Also, just go out with friends and let them see the darn outfit.)?


Prep period! Pinterest and lunch time. I’ll even get up and go to pee! Mmm which yogurt should I eat first?


Plans foiled. Custodian has come to give me the wheels that used to be on our rolling platforms. What am I supposed to do with these? He’s now telling me that I should go on vacation. I agree. He’s telling me to go to the island that he hails from. I am now just being polite. Nod, nod, nod. There are some interesting stories here, but I really just want to eat another yogurt and…


Too late, here is my next class. “Oh it’s the drama sub again. Let’s watch YouTube videos!”


I manage to convince two students to work on their monologues, who then in turn rally the rest of the students. Students like these girls are invaluable.


Prep period but I have to go cover a class for another teacher who has a meeting. I still have to pee.


The teacher no longer needs me but before I can make it to the bathroom, I have been whisked away by 11th grade media students who need me to help them work on their independent studies. This girl’s project is all about fashion and costume designs. Hello, this is right up my alley!


I go back to my room to get ready for my next class. The phys ed class next door, however, is listening to the WORST music. Taylor Swift? Rihanna? Is this the bad role models playlist? Yes, it has to be. Because nothing makes a game of badminton better than realizing that you will “never ever ever ever ever (however many times)” hit that birdie. Or get a date. Probably because these are freshmen and news flash: if you are 14 years old, you don’t need a boyfriend/girlfriend. I really prefer it when the gym class has the Disney playlist on instead. Being told that you can “go the distance” is much more encouraging.


My next class has been great so far. 11 freshmen girls.  Only 8 today, actually. Some of them are on a field trip. To the zoo. The zoo. How come I wasn’t invited? Ok, mostly because I’m a substitute and because I don’t work for the child care academy. How awesome is that? They take the preschoolers to the zoo. I love animals. This class is pretty quiet and they are all working on their projects. Would they even notice if I got up to go to the bathroom?


“Miss, our academy has so much drama right now. We need to have a drum circle.”

Teenagers. Land of mean girls. Land of gossip and insecurity. Performing arts academies are very special lands of many tears and heightened emotions.

Last year’s sophomores came into my class one day (back when I was student teaching and a bit more official) and they were all upset with each other. They couldn’t concentrate; they didn’t want to work with each other anymore. What to do with a fed up class of 15-16 year olds?

Ok, kiddies, sit in a circle. It’s drum circle time. It was one of those “You can’t talk unless you have the pretty plastic flower talking stick” kind of things. I don’t know why we had plastic flowers in our room, but I guess this is a theatre room so, yeah, ok, normal.

By the end of the class, they were all crying and hugging. Everything was out in the open and they worked together blissfully after that. Even this year, they still work together just fine. And the legend of my drum circle has passed from class to class and now they all want to do it.

This hippie nonsense works.


Here come the drum circle juniors.

They found juggling balls and are tossing them across the room while singing circus music. You know like da da dadada da da da. You know. But not like Pennywise the Clown music

because then I would cry. A lot.

Circus music. Also normal.

Monologues are next. This group likes profanity and sex. Also normal. And awkward. Watch my supervisor walk in during one of these. Yikes.


I have just given a rant about how I hate, hate, loathe monologues written for teens. I hate them. They are full of unnecessary F-bombs that make no sense, and therapist talk. Because every 14 year old needs to have a therapist and complain about wanting to commit suicide in order for it to be a valid monologue for teens. There’s never any context or character development. Not one of them is special because they’re all the same.

Yes, fine, teenagers can have emotional problems. It’s part of being a teenager, but do we really need to make teen drama students read these monologues? I don’t care if this nameless, faceless character is depressed and doesn’t go to school for reasons that are never revealed. What makes you so special, 14 year old, in therapist’s office, wearing all black? F-Bombs don’t have THAT much subtext. Dammit, if my student wants to read a monologue written for an adult woman and it’s a good one, I’m going to let her read it because at some point, these kids need to learn how to read a real monologue, from a real play, and expand their acting skills. Take the damn challenge!

And the bell rang.

3pm. On a Friday.

Why am I still here? Dance rehearsal? I have 5 left feet. And it’s a Friday. Bye. No time to pee if I want to beat the bus traffic and the NJ Transit train that puts us all in red lights for at least 10 minutes.


On the highway. Broadway beats still blasting.

You know when annoying social media fanatics post on the first day of “flip flop weather!” that they are driving “Windowz down, beatz up!”? Yeah. I’m doing the same thing. Except Phantom of the Opera is playing. Obviously, I’m the coolest person that ever lived. EVER.


I’m home. I finally clean the litter boxes. I finally go to the bathroom. I nap.


If this were any other Friday, I’d honestly be in my pajamas already. But I’m driving to Montclair for the Theatre Night Awards. We were nominated for things! I was nominated for costume design!


I didn’t win. One of my students did win for sound design though! I am a proud mama duck right now.


Shuffle knows me so well.



Home. In bed. I am such an exciting adult. My students all think that I’m out getting wasted and raving (really?) and neon and shots, shots, shotsshotshotshots. No. I’m back in bed with my cats and we’re watching Tanked. Can I have a salt water tank that is actually a bed/gumball machine/rocket ship? No? What? I need a better job in order to afford that? Well. Now I have a goal.

This is my typical work day. If I had done this about a day that I’m not at work… well, this would have been a lot shorter. It would have been like:

  • Wake up
  • Doctor Who
  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire and job searching
  • The Chew and Pinterest
  • Secrets of a Restaurant Chef
  • Food and Pinterest
  • Gym
  • Food
  • Pinterest until I feed the cats
  • Bed

No wonder my students think that I’m so awesome.


Author: Allyssa Ellen

A costumer, a makeup artist, an educator, and a librarian, all rolled up into one convenient, fun-sized package.

One thought on “A typical day. Honestly.

  1. Pingback: Bros and Tony Awards | Honesty Time

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