Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme??
Right now I am sitting in the back of a third grade classroom. I am a substitute today, but the class has a student teacher, so my job is to… sit here.
Let me give you help you out with the ambiance:
- It’s a breathtakinginly beautiful spring day. This, as all teachers know, is universal code for We Are Really Not Going to Get Anything Done.
- Everyone is kinda highly strung, like little quivering lapdogs, all squeaky and yappish. I fear one of them might puddle the floor soon, they are all so keyed up.
- Perhaps it’s demeaning to say that a third grader might have an accident in the classroom but as I just observed one kid wipe snot on the other kid at his table, I am ready for anything.
- It’s Friday. Their brains are melting. This does not seem to have any effect on their ability to speak, however.
I have really enjoyed this subbing gig. Even with the snot and the yapping. About two months ago, as I was working on an article, I realized that the entire morning had been consumed with me trying to chip dried milk off of the floor underneath Red’s chair. Red likes milk. A lot. He also likes to decorate with it.
Anyhow. The article was going nowhere. And I wasn’t either. I had found myself doing that circular, meandering, walk of despair in my house that goes like this:
- Go into bathroom to brush teeth.
- Find bathroom a mess so start cleaning.
- Go to basement to retrieve toilet paper.
- Find basement to be the Pit of Despair so, cleaning.
- Repeat until sobbing occurs.
I needed to get OUT of the house, y’all. And – I missed teaching. I really did. But I had NO time to plan lessons or grade or the million jillion other tasks that teachers do.
Also? I wanted to spy on my children.
So here I am, subbing for Mrs. Oleen today. Her student teacher is young and energetic. She reminds me … of me. About a million jillion years ago. And I am sitting in the back, as she deals with each snot wielding situation. I am not getting up. I am not moving.
It is REALLY hard.
I did shoot a really pointed glare at a kid who kept making sheep noises. There is no need for sheep noises during reading, y’all. That’s where I draw the line. But as for jumping up and helping out?
She can do it. She has to. If she wants to teach she needs to feel the weight of the whole class, even when one of them raises her hands, and says,
“I, like, don’t get this. Like. Any of it. Can you go back to the beginning?”
And another one adds:
“Wait. What was the beginning? I didn’t even know we are in the middle. I’m scared.”
And another one adds:
“When is recess? And I need to go to the bathroom. I have an earache.”
And another one barks:
“IF YOU’RE VOTING FOR CRUZ YOU’RE JUST DUMB!”
The reading activity kinda went downhill from there. But I stayed plastered to my chair, with a totally friendly but completely non-helping smile plastered on my face.
I let her do it. And I let her know, later, how much I was behind her. The whole morning. Cheering her on. Silently. (Although out-loud would have fit in with the ambiance quite well.) I am WITH her. I get it. And I wanted her to keep swimming.
Sometimes this is the best help we can offer. Not helping. But also, letting others know: I trust you with this. You’ve got it. And if you screw up? I totally get it. Keep SWIMMING.
We are united. And I stand beside you.
Or, in this case, I sit in the back and silently praise you the Big Three that every teacher has to suit up with EVERY morning before they enter their classroom:
- Patience. Buckets of it.
- Oh, and a really really really good sense of humor.
Yes, that’s four. I probably should have paid better attention in math class.