Every Time I Teach Hungover

I imagine seeing me hungover is a rite of passage of sorts for students in my class. They can come every day, learn everything I’ve got to teach, laugh at all my jokes–”laughing at my jokes not mandatory but is demonstrative of a well-rounded sense of humor and a strong moral compass,” as I wrote in my syllabus–but that only makes them students in my class, not necessarily my students. They’re mine once they’ve seen me dim the lights, close the blinds, and say “I’m feeling a bit sick so we’re going to have a low-energy class today.”

Just a little under the weather

That’s going to happen today. A new batch of students are going to be treated to the hangover day schedule, which is the same as whatever I already had planned only it will be quieter because I’ll lie and say there’s a class next door taking a test. Greasy food, hair of the dog, painkillers, those are the hangover remedies of lesser people. I lie to young people and growl at birds if they sound too happy.

Chipper bastard


I’ve been thinking a lot about what exactly it would be like for a student of mine upon first seeing my hungover self shamble into class. My thoughts have been stumbling in lethargic circles trying to visualize the exact thought process a student might have, so for my own clarification, I’ve decided to outline what I think two students would say to each other if they saw me in class, which they will later today.

Our cast

Student 1: The first student to speak. A real go-getter. Has hair but isn’t overly concerned about that fact. Loves trains and tries to work them into conversations so they can show off their encyclopedic knowledge of them.

Student 2: The second student to speak. A well-rounded person with skills and passions and faults and gaps. A person with hobbies they enjoy and work they don’t. Volunteers at the library but doesn’t tell people because they don’t want to brag. Used to steal lunch money from small kids but feels terrible about that now. Has $3.50 for lunch and doesn’t want to tell anybody where they got it.

The teacher: is hungover.

Scene: It’s a classroom. You know what those look like. The chairs have wheels on them. That’s about the only difference from other classes. Use your imagination.

Student 1: Do you want to talk about trains?

Student 2: No, and nobody ever will. Why is it dark in here?

Author’s note: I read somewhere that plays will do this thing where they incorporate scene information within the dialogue. See that up there, that’s what I did. Now you know it’s dark, and I am left to wonder if my degree really was worth it.

Student 1: Maybe a train crashed and knocked out the power.

Student 2: No, that’s a dumb thing. Nobody thinks that thing you said could ever happen.

Student 1: Just an idea.

Student 2: You have bad ideas.

Student 1: That’s not very nice.

Student 2: Trains are dumb. Let’s move on to a new topic. This play-format thing is getting old

Student 1: Good point. Hey, I know why the lights might be off.

Student 2: Why?

Student 1: Could it have anything to do with our teacher sitting at her desk and crying and heaving into a trashcan?

Student 2: Definitely. We should stop talking now because the point has been made that it’s really obvious when the teacher is hungover even if this was an exaggeration.

Student 1: Exeunt all.

It’s probably really obvious when I’m hungover. I’m a pretty peppy teacher, but this horrible, rotting sugar headache leaves me a different person. How could I be enthusiastic about anything when just opening my eyes to write this post feels like I’m being dragged through a concert I don’t want to be at: everything is loud and bright but somehow dim and I want nothing to do with it.

And I’ve got about 5 hours before someone sees me. It’s going to be a loud sort of day.

15 Replies to “Every Time I Teach Hungover”

  1. 1- Student one could be a friend of mine. That kid knows everything there is to know about trains and can rattle all kinds of train facts by heart. It never ceases to fascinate me.

    2- Thanks for giving me a glimpse into what a hang over feels like (I know, I’m 35 and never got hung over – what am I doing with my life?).

    3- I hope you feel better, or at least don’t feel like death! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. People who know a lot about trains or other strangely specific engineering are really interesting to me, why such a consistent and specific interest in something most people just think of as a novelty.

      I’m glad I could offer this insight without you having to experience one. Not having been hungover is probably only a good thing, and you aren’t missing much if you don’t do alcohol.

      Thank you! I sat on the floor of my office listening to angsty music I used to love as a teenager and drank more water than I have in months, and I’m feeling much better

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My friend is high-functioning autistic, and this is one of his quirks. He’s got a great memory and loads of interesting facts to share. When I can, I just sit and soak up the knowledge he has to impart, because well… being friends with the human equivalent of an encyclopaedia is cool!

        I have the occasional sex on the beach or caipirinha (my country’s official cocktail, btw), but I’ll empty one glass and be done with it. We don’t need drunk me spilling all of my secrets to people, do we?

        Glad you’re feeling better, angsty music and water sound like a good combination!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s super cool!

        Ok, so I didn’t know there was a cocktail called sex on the beach, so for a moment I thought I had just learned a lot about you. However, drunk secrets are the best secrets… I’ll write about that someday.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh, God. No, I keep those kinds of revelations for my own blog, thank you very much. I can’t wait to read about your drunk secrets. Also, try Sex on the Beach when you can, if you like vodka. It’s on the sweet side, but it’s delicious.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I just had a monstrous flashback. I’ve definitely had a few of those “I got home at 4:30am, got 30 minutes of sleep, only started drinking water on the drive over here, and I’m keeping my sunglasses on for the next two class periods.” Listen, everyone needs a quiet day of contemplation. It’s a life lesson you’re teaching these kids. Also, the class next door is testing has always been one of my best tools of survival. Good luck out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad I’m not alone in this. Bad habits aren’t quite so bad with company. We definitely had a quiet day in class. I told them I was a little sick and that the whole building was in meetings and conferences. Lying is such a convenient way of getting things done sometimes


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