Monday, March 25, 2013

School Rules

(Do I look like a 5th grade teacher?  Didn't think so.)

Over the last couple years, I've found myself having to be a jack of all trades.  (And master of very few!)  I've been a journalist, dance instructor, photographer, ghost writer, publicist, nanny, producer and now I've been working as a substitute teacher for the last couple weeks, and will continue on through the remainder of the school year.  I worked at the school about 14 years ago and despised it, dreaded every day, but my job description was very different then...I'm enjoying it immensely these days.  Today I took the place of the combined 3rd/4th/5th grade teacher, a huge class which seemed daunting to me ahead of time, despite knowing most of the kids.  I needn't have worried, they were mostly all sweet and helpful.  Admittedly I stumbled a bit in math's pretty humbling to realize even elementary math is tricky for me, if only momentarily.  Math was never my strong suit!  Everything else though, I aced.

First thing, I checked the chore chart and asked the little girl responsible to feed the fish...but she came back to report one was laying on the bottom, lifeless.  Well, that kept everyone rather distracted all morning.  Some kids claimed it was stunned but still alive, (they'd seen it twitch!!!) some insisted the bubbler was making it move and it was absolutely DEAD.  One created an elaborate paper coffin while she was supposed to be doing a worksheet.  Finally when they had gone to snack, I had the janitor remove it so we could get back to business!  RIP, 20 cent Neon Tetra!

At circle time, the kids got to talk about what they did over the weekend.  Then they asked me about MY weekend.  Unfortunately, I had attended my grandmother's funeral on Sunday, which really, was a nice day, all things considered...wonderful to have many happy memories shared and to see my family, BUT add that to the dead fish incident, and the classroom conversation was immediately returned to death.  Egads!

I got a small thrill from standing at the front of the room writing things on the white board and sternly stopping two small boys from wresting over a marker.  It reminded me of all the days playing school with my sisters as a child.  I, of course, was ALWAYS the teacher, being the eldest - a born leader and general Bossy Johnson.  I got to assign a writing project of my own choosing and was delighted that the class seemed to enjoy the topic.  The smell of erasers and paste and industrial paper towels was pretty darn nostalgic.  And harking back to my juvenile days, I secretly snickered to myself every time I had to walk down the hall and see a half finished bulletin board with only: "HOW CHICKS DEVELOP" written at the top.

Anyhow, I made it.  Made it through a jammed printer, a dead fish, a mysterious math class, and a kid who refused to read a paragraph about Dung Beetles out loud.  Do I want to go back to college and become a teacher full-time?  Nope.  I'd rather do this and keep loving it.  A new, fresh thing every day.  Nice to see my own boys as they come and go, nice to get hugs from random kids, nice to laugh with other adults at lunch.  Utterly exhausting, but still, satisfying.  Tomorrow's another day, I wonder who I'll be next?    

1 comment:

  1. Whether playing with your sisters as a little girl or now as a grownup, you are a natural teacher and the kids of Tunbridge (as well as the teachers who are out sick) are so lucky to have you! I am just dreaming about all of the little writers out there who will be influenced by you! How cool.