Wednesday, 14 September 2011

I Am No Substitute

You see before you a newly-baked substitute teacher. Lena called me up early in the morning and asked if I could substitute for the day, and I agreed, because I understood that I would be teaching an English class or two and possibly help out with the after-school project for the late-leaving kids (we watched Shrek and drew pictures). I had absolutely no idea what to expect--I was given no information at all--and I arrive to find that I have been booked for two classes: math and Christianity with the fourth and fifth grade class. Math was easy--I was the smartest person in the room. The students all had their own math problems to solve and schedules to follow; they worked quietly and without fuss, with only the occasional hand gesture to call me over for a question.


My life is validated in print.

For Christianity, the missing teacher had given me no indication, not even the merest hint of what she wanted me to do for the class. She telephoned during my lunchtime and told me about the dusty boardgame on the top shelf that had never been touched but could be used in such situations when substitutes had not been given any helpful information. I had already prepared something else--a retelling of my father's many traveling adventures in the mission field--and I told her so. She was very agreeable.

 Lunchroom preparation

Suffice to say, the forty-five minutes allocated for class went by very quickly--I intrigued them with tales of Calcutta and traffic jams that congealed around some sacred, road-crossing cow--and one boy paid me the highest compliment of all before shuffling off in his raincoat for break: "You should come here everyday."

Smooth sailing, except for one special child who ran off screaming "I HATE BUTTER!" for no apparent reason.

2 comments:

Person in Progress said...

Paula Deen would be so disappointed in that child.
On a related note: Aren't you the one usually running from the room screaming non sequiturs?

S.L. Gabriel said...

Really? I don't know what you mean...