I had the chance the other day to sub at an elementary school in the poorest section of town. Most of the kids that attend this school live in the projects just down the street. I like subbing here when I can, mostly because I know how much they need good subs. They certain have had their challenges in keeping good ones. When I sign in at a new school, they usually have the paperwork ready for me. I just sign it and take the pink copy, but not at this school. They have had so much trouble with subs leaving after just an hours worth of work that they require subs to pick up their copy at the end of the day.
On this particular day I was subbing for a kindergarten teacher. I didn’t learn until the next day that she had food poisoning the night before and called in sick without preparing a plan. This is usually a worst-case scenario for a sub, but I had plenty of back up material to keep them busy and on task for most of the day. Actually, they were adorable, and I really enjoyed my time with them, even if there were, at time, a handful.
At lunch time I took the kids to the cafeteria and sat with them while they ate. This is not what most teachers do. Most go to the teachers lounge to spend their thirty minutes to get a break from their kids, but I enjoy spending time with these kids and they love the attention. (Don’t try this in middle or high school, it won’t work.)
On the way back from the cafeteria the group got somewhat spread out. I was with the kids in the lead, and the kids in the back were a good ways back. I got to our room and waited for the rest to catch up. I noticed that a teacher’s aid had stopped one of my kids and was talking to him. From her bent over posture and wagging finger, I assumed she telling him off. I don’t know what he did, but it couldn’t have been that bad, I mean, how much trouble can a kindergardener get into between the cafeteria and the classroom? What ever it was, he seemed to be sufficiently remorseful and she let him proceed on his way.
As soon as this little boy entered the room, he ran to the middle of the room, threw himself on the ground and began to weep. Whatever this woman has said had hurt him deeply and I was angry. What could this boycould have done that he would deserve such harsh words. Why did his tiny soul have to be wounded so? I picked him up, took him to a rocking chair and told him I didn’t know what he had done, but I was sure it could not have been so bad he deserved such treatment.
I try hard to treat all my kids with respect. I don’t yell, or scream and I never, ever tell them they are losers. It is possible to tell kids you don’t like their behavior without questioning their motives or character. Please understand, you can get kids to behave without resorting to such tactics. The fact that you are having a bad day, or your personal life is in a shambles, doesn’t allow you to say anything you want ot these little ones…and it never will. They deserve your best; every single day, no matter what.