I have a very challenging class this year.
Don't get me wrong, I love every single kid I have. Really. Most years I have one kid that kinda rubs me the wrong way...this year, I have no one like that.
That doesn't change the fact that this class is very challenging. Throw in pregnancy hormones and very little sleep...even more challenging.
Anyway, this past week I had to attend a district meeting at another elementary school, so I had a sub for the afternoon. I hadn't heard of this person, so I wrote pretty detailed plans for him to follow in case he wasn't very experienced.
The kids were lined up to go to lunch and he walked in our door. Upon seeing him I said,"Oh, hi! I'll be right back to get my stuff after I run them to the cafeteria. The plans are on my desk if you want to look over them."
We filed out of the room and one little girl said, "Mrs. Overman? He looks scared."
This is never a good sign when the kids can see your fear...they can already smell it, but seeing it...oh dear.
"Well," I said, "Maybe he is...."
I walked back to the room after dropping the kids off and said, "So those plans are pretty well laid out for you. Is there anything you need before I go?"
He scared me by saying, "Well, I haven't been in a primary classroom in 30 years. This room is SO different...the kids...they're...well...there are so many...."
I tried to make him (probably someone's grandpa) feel better and my friend across the hall walked in to see if I was ready to go. She said to him, "Just be firm, don't bend, and you'll be just fine."
I started to go into our classroom bathroom and I swear he would have followed me in there had I not shut the door. He talked to me the whole time I was in there.
Totally would have freaked me out--but it happens every day at least ten times.
"So...I just do math? And music? What's that?" he asked.
"Don't worry," I said. "You don't have to actually make music. Just take them to music class...they'll show you where to go. Pick them up when the schedule says."
"Oh. Okay. So...."
"I'm sorry, I really have to go. You'll be okay, really. Just follow the plans if you can. Have a good day!" Out the door I went.
Later, our music teacher said, "So your sub didn't come back to get your kids yesterday. I was joking around with them, tapping my watch, saying, 'Hmmm...where's your teacher?' and one of them said, 'He's probably never coming back for us!'"
Never a good sign. Then I read the sub note, the icing on the cake, if you will:
"Hats off to you. This is a very challenging class. We survived. --Al"