Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can't, Teach

This post contains profanity. I'm not sorry.

Today I got to wear my Jack-o'-lantern socks into a first grade class which I hadn't been privileged to be the guest in before.  Within the first hour they were kickin' my ass.

There is nothing like a classroom full of six year old kids to keep one humble.

I had to use my 'mom voice' to try to regain semblance of control and an assistant wandered in. And when I say 'assistant' I mean the very friendly, tie wearing, tracked-me-down-to-shake-my-hand, PRINCIPAL of the school. Yeah. Talk about feeling like I don't know what I'm doing.

Then they went to lunch and recess and I spent mine listening to Christian music and NPR safely locked in my car in the parking lot sending my wife "I am so over subbing" texts and questioning my life choices all over again (which I do about 10,000 times a day anyway).

When I went to gather them up from recess and to enforce the very strict "NO talking in the hallway" rule, a squabble began between two boys. There is no way in hell these two were going to be quiet in the hallway let alone silent.

And then one yelled at me. AT me. I could see the anger of a man (his dad, I'm sure) seething out as he spit the words at me.  I do *NOT* let anyone speak to me like that and I wasn't about to go into a classroom with 23 other kids watching me take that from a boy.

I snagged the principal from the hallway and lead the rest toward their writing assignment, relieved.

Then he came back to class and was calmer.  I asked him to tell me what his topic was going to be for his writing assignment; remember, they're six.

He said: "I am going to write that I am sad that I only get to see my mom a few times a year and I don't get to see her until Christmas and I am really sad."

Shit. Fuck.

It was then that I realized that this beautifully frustrating little child whom I was looking at was my own child. And something deep inside me began to break all over again... for not the first time again today.
It was all I could do to keep from grabbing him and squeezing him tightly and not letting go. But I got a moment with just him where I could speak truth.
"Oh {boy's name}, you know what? Your mom misses you too and you're right, that is really sad. I know what it is like to not get to see your mom and I'm sorry."

In my heart I told him I loved him.  Later on the principal swung by to check on me and I thanked him for talking to my new little friend. He said that the boy has it hard and I told him that I knew, he has told me. We both agreed he was a lovely mess.

I can't do so I teach. It is a heartbreaking, agonizing, joyous, underpaid, somewhat fulfilling job this subbing.

Until next time...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Common Phrases

Being a parent and having homeschooled for ten years in three different countries, I am no stranger to common phrases when it comes to kids... and parenting... and teaching. These I find I use quite often in a classroom full of kids (mostly elementary) on the regular:

I know you were here first but (s)he's the line leader

Stop picking your nose

Go wash your hands with soap

There's tissue right there {pointing}

Quite Coyote is out! Where are my Coyote Kids?

Take your hands out of your pants

Go wash your hands. With soap. I know. Go do it again.

I love you too

Keep your hands and bodies and clothing to yourself

Thank you, but Permanent Teacher left me all of the instructions. If I have questions, then I will ask you

Sit on your pockets

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


It was breezy as I walked to school work the other day.  As I approached the school I just happened to look into the trees while the wind swayed them and something fell down from them.

It was this, someone's old, stuck in the tree flying disk. 

 What are the odds of me witnessing this drop-out?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Rumbly Tummy

We walked as a class toward the lunchroom when he told me, "I don't have a lunch today".  I assured him that the lunch lady would fix him up because I know that there is a way to feed this kid.

Each child is issued a debit card of sorts in which their parent or guardian loads lunch money onto. If a child eats his way through his lunch money, oftentimes they go into debt before the parents reload so that a child doesn't go hungry. The office let's the parent know and it gets reloaded.

But not this day.  I approached the uber nice lunch lady to let her know about this boy. That's when I learned that this child has a debt so high she is not permitted to extend any more lunch credit to him. It was near $87 high.  They told me that he usually does pretty well mooching off of his friends as his home had been contacted several times about his debt and that the school can no longer carry his lunch for free.

Of course this was a day I had no lunch to extend to him.  Gah!

If you are in any position to donate to hungry kids in your neighborhood public school, please do. Yes, loads of kids are on subsidized or low-cost lunches but once that money runs out, tummies go hungry.

Friday, May 6, 2016


I am not crafty.  Like, at all.

But on this day I was paid to get stoned whilst at work.  Er, assemble a craft as a prep for a teacher. Yeah. That's what it was. I remember now.