It doesn’t take Jedi mind tricks to persuade me; you might just say I’m easily influenced if I think your perspective has merit.
This weekend, we entertained some of our oldest friends from South Carolina. It has been years since we spent substantive time together, and in that twinkling their children have matured into amazing young people, the oldest mere days away from high school graduation. We’ve known these children since they were in utero and I enjoyed the eye rolls when I reminded Sam I used to change his diapers.
Nothing like telling an 18 year old you’ve seen him naked.
You can imagine a visit like this includes a lot of stories; undivided, uninterrupted time lends itself to a fair amount of catching up (I wonder how many words were spilled in the brief time we shared).
One of the remarks Theresa shared clung to me like lint on black: "Substituting at the kids’ school this year is one of the best things I’ve ever done." I asked her to elaborate and without batting an eye, she fired off half a dozen reasons why.
Hardly a remarkable statement, nothing spectacular in her declaration, it was annoyingly affecting to me.
Over the weekend, my 7th-grader’s Science teacher suffered a great tragedy–the young man she’s been dating and with whom marriage was imminent, died in a head-on collision while driving home to Indiana to celebrate Mother’s Day.
There are only two weeks left of school, but between now and then, there’s still new material to cover and final exams to take. On the scale of "busy", May is on par with December, just without tinseled decoration and immoderate gift giving. I suppose there are loose ends in need of binding before the kids are out for summer, and probably more likely, moms are rushing to get a lot done while their 8-3 isn’t filled with little bodies needing all manner of motherly attention.
In other words, substitute teachers are difficult to come by at the last minute.
With Theresa’s words lodged in my brain like a bullet in Miss Kitty’s saloon, I toyed with calling Thomas’ principal to offer to sub this week. Two years ago I subbed often, but never above fifth grade. In my mind–and probably in reality–middle school was another animal, and high school? Even more beastly. This year I haven’t subbed at all; the thought of it alone wears me out (I think teachers are underpaid, and in today’s climate, have one of the toughest jobs out there).
I brought up subbing to my oldest two–the same children who used to say they’d like me to home school so they could be with me all the time!–and their responses were rapid fire, none of it encouraging. "But our friends like you now" (the implication being they won’t if I sub), "You don’t r e a l l y want to do that…?" (less a question, more a threat), and my personal favorite, the title of this post (that one goes to my high schooler).
Of course I responded like any rational mother. I nodded politely and silently to them (after a few whining "But WHY?"s)…and yesterday morning marched my behind to the middle school office to offer my services
before I chickened out.
Guess what? They didn’t need me. Quick to act over the weekend, our principal had arranged a sub for the week (whew!).
Guess what else? They called me ten minutes later to say, "Ooops! We DO need you–Mr. Russell isn’t available Tuesday and Wednesday after all…"
As Thomas fell into the car yesterday afternoon, I was drama-king greeted with "TELL ME IT ISN’T TRUE…TELL ME YOU AREN’T SUBBING TOMORROW!!" and as I confirmed apparently his worst nightmare, he pleaded and wailed in the background, "Just don’t give ’em your ‘I’m not here to be your friend…’ speech!!" That was followed by "YOU’RE SUBBING WEDNESDAY, TOO?" and him muttering various sounds of disconcertment.
Is it any wonder I dreamt about my car losing control last night, rolling backwards across traffic, refusing to go into gear–then worse "PARK"–and I finally had to open the door, jump out of the car, physically grab the door and pull to stop it with Super Human Mother Strength?? Seriously.
(If you read this today or Wednesday, I would be grateful your prayers and thoughts, not just for me and the students, but for Miss Phillips and her boyfriend’s family….)
Good luck! Middle school is such a crazy place. I’m sure you’ll do well, and secretly your children are proud of you for stepping up. They’ll never admit it, though.
Luck and prayers!
I admire you for being willing to do this! You are a brave lady!
I am so sorry for the teacher you are subbing for – what a tragedy! Maybe your willingness to serve others will make her days a little easier and she’ll find God’s hands holding her in the midst of her sorrow.
That is a wonderful thing to do, I caught my breath when I read the part about the accident.
I think you’ll end up being SO glad you did it, for so many different reasons. Really, you are a very good person.
As a teacher in a school where we often don’t have subs and the students have to be split up and sent to other rooms, thank you for standing in the gap for both students and this hurting teacher.
The biggest gift you can give the young lady who lost her fiance is to have as much of her work done when she comes back as possible. Forgive me if I am being forward about this, but if you could grade everything you teach/assign – even if it is subjective (essay questions, etc), take your best shot even if you write the grades on another piece of paper and not on the student work. If the teacher wants to keep your grades, she can and you will have saved her much time. If she doesn’t keep your grades, at least she knows you cared enough to try. If it is an assignment that is objective (definite write or wrong answers), by all means correct away.
Please know doing this paperwork, keeping the room straightened up, her teaching materials organized and letting her know exactly what you covered and didn’t get to along with how well the kids seemed to grasp the concepts you taught will be an immeasurable blessing to her upon her return.
Oh, and even if you are incredibly strict but kind and respectful with a little dose of humor for good measure, the kids may not admit it, but they will still like you. Tell your son not to worry. : )
Oh, that poor girl (the teacher.) sigh…my condolences to her…
And good for you for subbing.. good luck!! It seems to me (of course I could be completely delusional) that if the kids already know you as someone’s parents, they won’t act out as much as if you were “just a sub.” let us know how it goes!!
You’re too tough to chew!
Sad that such a tragedy was the impetus — but the school is lucky to have you.
May the force be with you.
Actually, junior high is my favorite age. Really fifth through eighth grade.
Good luck ~ I’ll be thinking about you.
It is too bad that the subbing had to come under such difficult circumstances.
Good Luck. You are a very brave woman. (My son’s class had to have a sub this winter for a lengthy time because the teacher’s husband was hospitalized for a few weeks….those 1st graders gave that sub some hellish days. I can’t imagine what JR. high kids will be like!)
Praying for you to come out unscathed. Praying more for the teacher. What a sad loss for her.
When I found out that The Girl’s entire class was going on a fieldtrip to the Museum, I meekly inquired about her thoughts for my chaperoning. (I would do it anyway, but I thought I would feel her out on it.) Imagine my joy when she said, “I was hoping you would want to go with me!”
Life is still good for me as a parent!
Good Luck! I never taught above Grade 3 in the UK (8 year olds), older kids scare me!
It’s great that your stepping into help, that poor poor teacher, I can’t imagine what she’s going through.
How sad for that teacher – she must be devastated.
Good on you for putting your hand up, also. It will no doubt be an adventure – but that is what blogging is about, eh?
Hulagirl, I think “relief” might’ve characterized their response at the end of the day (my 7th grader gave me rave reviews, but they made sure to tell me not to do it too often, lol).
Suz, I can’t imagine what she’s going through; if this helps in a tiny way…well, I’m thankful to find a way to do so :).
Lisa, awww…you’re so sweet :). The timing of our friends visit (to motivate me) and this tragedy is interesting, yes? I doubt I would’ve offered to sub had it not been for my friend’s “encouragement”.
Kim, THANK YOU for your VERY thoughtful response; much wisdom laced throughout. Miss P actually picked up all her papers to grade, but we’ll take care of what we’re working on this week. I wish the parents at your school to read my post and your comments…I bet more than a few would respond….
Claudia, for the most part, the kids will “act out” regardless! That floors me!! BUT, the ones who know me WELL…know better ;).
Pamela, HAHAHA! You got that right, sistah! I AM one tough bird!! 🙂
Heather, I bet they LOVE you!
Thanks, Beckie…one more day to go.
Karmyn, it does help if you’re a long-time sub to start “firm”…I almost wouldn’t mind a few weeks of this…m a y b e ;).
Shalee, that is a wonderful “stamp” of approval–good for YOU! 🙂
Marmite, I know what you mean…the older they get, the more intimidating. BUT…I just remembered I’m bigger than most of them at this point and that helped….
Jeanie, yeah…she is :(. Live-blogging my day was FUN!
To ALL of y’all–thanks for your warm words and prayers for Miss P…I know it’s making a difference in her grieving…xo.
hee hee! I used to sub too. Haven’t subbed at all this year but may do it again next year. I saw that you posted about your days. Can’t wait to read them!
My prayers are going out to the young teacher for her loss!!
Woman, are you insane! 🙂
I substituted once on St. Paddy’s Day, except in my hurry to get ready I forgot what day it was and spent the entire day trying to keep high school students from pinching me!