Tuesday, April 14, 2009


If I had to come up with one single word to describe how today is going so far it would have to be. . . "ass."

I got a sub job with one of my regular classrooms today. The kids are low, but I get along well with them and I usually don't have any problems. Today was different. I blame it on the horrible thunderstorms and tornado warnings we've had all day today. Something in the air brought out the inner troublemakers in all of them.

In my first period I have a boy. Let's call him A. A decides that he's not interested in listening to the story another student is reading out loud to everyone. Let's call the student reading the book (a girl) B. A tries everything possible to disrupt B from reading, including getting into her personal space, putting his sneaker in her face and ramming her chair with his chair. I try desperately to separate them before the fireworks happen, without success. A keeps finding new ways to torture B. B finally decides she has had enough. She takes off her flip flop and starts beating A in the head with it.

Of course I am on them like white on rice trying to defuse the situation. A eventually gets mad and storms out of the classroom on the pretense of going to the office to report the incident (I found out later he was hanging out in another classroom).

Now I ask you, why would A spend so much time trying to rile up B if he was only going to get mad and pissy when she retaliated? It makes no sense! I was glad to have him out of the classroom in any case. I wrote him a referral and left it for the teacher to deal with.

Of course, this incident ruined the kids for the rest of the period. Everyone was disrupted from their work and it was really impossible to get them back. Not good.

So then 2nd period rolls around. I already know from previous jobs in this classroom that this will be the worst class of the day. Two boys, let's call them C and D, decide that they don't want to do anything besides fuck with me and each other. They started off the period by plastering each other with packing tape (on heads and hairy arms) and ripping it off their bodies loudly. Once I wrangle the tape away from them they get back at me by stealing the television remote off the teacher's desk and turning on the TV and turning it up as loud as it will go. At this point I don't yet know who took the remote and I am getting incredibly frustrated. I unplug the TV and wait for the remote to surface. Once I finally pin down the culprits, I send them both up to the office.

If course, their actions completely disrupt the rest of the class and not much learning takes place. Again, not good.

When your day starts off so badly, there's not much you can do to salvage it. His other class did not get the best of me because I was so messed up from the other classes. Days like this make me question my decision to teach. They also reinforce my notion that substitute teaching is the WORST job in the world. I don't know what I do wrong or what I could do better. Being mean as hell is not in me. I suppose that my laid back approach will work in most classrooms, but not in others. I need to be able to adjust my demeanor to match the tone of the class. What I did today did not work at all.

Perhaps the worst news of the day is that my cowl is all complete, but I can't take pictures because it is such a gray rainy day. Maybe tomorrow. :(

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