Thursday, April 29, 2010

Substitute Teaching Take One

My worst fear was losing a child. Or not being somewhere (i.e. the cafeteria) when I was supposed to be.

But neither of those two things happened and so life as a substitute teacher was great.

It was a first-grade class, 19 kiddos, one of me. Well, there was me and then there was the 7-year-old version of me.

"Timmy, shhh," monitored the captain of the class. "I will give you a warning." And the 'will' was uttered with such a vengance that Timmy shuddered in his seat and shut his mouth.

I tried not to laugh.

Yes, I had moments of complete chaos where I really did say, "Please no more talking!" 100 times in a row. Yes, I did break out my 'mean' voice and my stern eyes and the hand that waved when I was puncuating a point.

But by noon, I had hand-drawn pictures and notes that said things like, "You are the best teacher," "Please be are (sic) teacher," and "I love you so, so, so much." And I would turn around and bump into the same happy-faced little girl who was wrapping her arms around me for the 10th time.

And then, after I was helping two students, I looked up and saw a group of six little girls had gotten every single book off the shelf and had laid them all over two tables and were holding a bookfair.

I asked them to please put the books back on the shelf and in their seven-and-eight-year-old inexperienced-book-shelverness, they carried piles of books to the bookshelf, dumped them on the floor and proceeded to put them on the shelf one at a time.

That's when their teacher walked in.

But she was cool and didn't say anything about my moment of complete not being in control.

It was amazing; she walked in the room and it was like this cloud of serenity descended on everyone. Suddenly everyone was sitting (something I'd been trying to get them to do for 10 minutes) and no one was talking (miraculous!) and she was weaving in and out of their tables quietly and almost whispering compliments for good behavior and pointing out bad behavior that needed to be fixed (and was almost immediately.)

I was impressed.

And tired.

And I was only there half a day.

But it was fun and great and awesome and even the 'bad' kids were cute and funny.

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