Random Notions and Stories of Teaching

October 18, 2005


Ever had "one of those days"? Ever had two in a row? Welcome to my world. In fact, I am pretty much betting that tomorrow will be "one of those days" as well.

Before school started I nabbed a consecutive three day assignment for a teacher I really like. She's young. She's fun. She's upbeat. She's just a nice person. I was her first sub ever and we really hit it off. She's one of those sneak-back-in-after-school-because-she's-so-worried-about-how-her- class-was-for-the-sub kind of teachers. I just like her. Anyway, I figured she had a conference since she was scheduling three days, in a row, two months ahead. Nope! She got married last weekend! Yay for her!

Now, if I were her, I would have stayed a week. Her kids are something else. What a group! I start the day calm, cool, collected, and nice. I end the day shouting to be heard, flicking on lights, and mean with a capital M. These are first graders, but boy, they don't act like it. They're immature, almost what I would expect of kindergarteners this time of year.

"He looked at me."
"He touched my paper."
"He stole my paper."
"He said a bad word....he said shut up." I wanted to SCREAM shut up, but I managed to control myself.

This being said, she has some perfectly lovely students. They listen, they follow directions, they do what they're supposed to do WHEN they are supposed to do it.

My only problem with Regular Teacher is her book choices for read aloud time. I understand her reasoning, but don't agree. The children are listening to two books. Because of Winn Dixie, which they read at another school in 4th grade, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Now, her thinking is, that once they finish the book, they can watch the movie. However, these books are WAY to old for these kids, especially the Narnia book. They don't get it. They fidget. They squirm. They drive me friggin' batty.

Anyway...yesterday was fall picture day. So no one went to their language arts block for an HOUR AND A HALF (LA is alllllll moring). I have no plans, no activities, no fillers for this time since I have every kid and there are huge differences in reading abilities. I can't do afternoon work because then what would I do in the afternoon!? Finally, I just taught them how to play "Heads Up, Seven Up". Of course, then I had to listen to...

"He's peeking."
"He cheated...he peeked!"

The absolute highlight of my today was the note I received from a mother. I have affectionately nicknamed her daughter MotorMouth. I swear, this child NEVER. STOPS. TALKING. NEVER! I don't think she can, honestly. Anyway, the note said:

"MotorMouth left her coat and her lunchbox at school yesterday. She said you wouldn't let her check the lost and found for them. Could you please let her check for them today or I can check when I pick her up.

Ms. Dedicated Mama"


It was all I could do NOT to write a snarky letter back to Dedicated Mama informing her that I did NOT tell MotorMouth she couldn't check the lost and found. My exact words to MotorMouth, as she interrupted my lesson for the third time, was that she was "going to gym in a few minutes she could check the gym when she got there and then the lost and found". Did I mention MotorMouth found her coat AND her lunchbox IN THE ROOM this morning???? It took me several deep breaths and counts to 10 to remember to be nice to MotorMouth. Luckily, MotorMouth left with Dedicated Mama at lunch time to go to the dentist and then see a movie. Nice.

Then there was The Wailer. I thought I had gotten off lucky today as The Wailer didn't show up. I should have known better. The Wailer arrived tardy at 10 o'clock. Drat! He walks in as I am wrapping up one Language Arts activity and getting ready to move to another. He doesn't even put his stuff away before walking up to me and saying, "What can I do?" Argh! So we get him straightened around and approximately every five minutes he walks up to me (irregardless of what we are doing) and says, "my tummmmmmmmmmmy hurrrrrrtttttttssssssss". I feel his forehead. No fever. I gave him every excuse I could think of... Wait a few minutes. Go to the bathroom. Try eating lunch. Try eating snack. Did I mention he was perfectly fine to play at recess? After lunch I couldn't take it any longer, visions of the two kids my mom has had recently complaining of tummy aches and having emergency appendectomies is running through my mind, I broke and sent him to the office. I did my part. It's in the nurse's hands now. No fever.

Yesterday, I had help from a parent. I *heart* parent helpers. They know the kids, they know the routine. Hallelujah. She helped during picture day, combing all the kids so their hair looked just so. She practically combed her son's hair right off his head. Hehe.

Well, today, little Sniffles (parent helper's son) just couldn't hold it together. After I had had it with the arguing over "peeking" during "Head's Up, Seven Up", I decided we would play "I Spy". I went first. The class gets five chances to guess my "spy" and then I tell them and its someone else's turn. We got through about five kids spying in the allotted extra time. Then it was time to read. As we're sitting on the carpet, Sniffles looks at me with tears in his eyes.

"What's wrong, Sniffles?" I asked.
"I......turn....never playing again." He mumbles. Uh. HUH? Turns out sniffles didn't get to be a spyer and he is "never playing I Spy again". Ooooooo-tay.

These are the days when I wonder if I am in the right profession. The days when the thought of this class for 180 days...in a row, is enough to send me to the funny farm. I wonder if I am too mean, when I am already using my teacher voice at 9:30. Days where I fear that other teachers can hear me across the hall or next door shouting, "FREEZE! FREEZE!"

Mama told me there'd be days like these....


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