Friday, February 26, 2010

not from fire...

Today, I was a Very Bad Sub. I was a sub with zero patience left. In my defense, it was my second day with the same 4th grade class. 4th grade is THE MOST HORRIBLE GRADE EVER.


I stayed calm despite having to repeat the same basic directions 826 times.
How many times should I repeat "silent read after the test?" Am I speaking Chinese?
I stayed calm despite the paperwads flying across the room.
Whoever threw that, when I figure out who you are, you're going to die to the office.
I stayed calm despite the tattling and the "he cut!" complaints during line-up.
You know what? You're all going to the cafeteria! All of you! So simmer down!
I stayed calm despite the nerve-electrocuting chatter. Even while I tried to explain how to compare fractions.

But I lost it during the fire drill. End of that close to the

The fire alarm rang and the kids went ABSOLUTELY APESHIT and then dove under their desks. I stood there, took a deep breath and yelled "OMG WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU HIDE UNDER YOUR DESKS DURING A FIRE?! WILL THE DESK PROTECT YOU FROM FIRE?!!?!"

Half of them popped up like little prairie dogs and laughed "oh yeah!" and I looked at them with laser-beam eyes and yelled "LINE UP!!!!"

It was not one of my best moments. I am normally very mellow (usually cause I just don't care) and I never yell. But desk-diving during a fire drill? NO. NO YOU DON'T. NOT WITH MISS P.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

not one of my finer moments...

"What did I just say? Did I say to talk to your neighbor? I don't think so. Get busy...I mean, get working. Don't 'get busy'...just...just DO YOUR WORK."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

she loves you, yeah yeah yeah....

Today I subbed for a 4th grade class and got to see the school's chorus perform Beatles' songs. Elementary children singing Beatles' music: MOST ADORABLE THING EVER. And when they began "Here Comes the Sun"... Totally Ridiculous Substitute got tears in her eyes. I know, I know...what's wrong with me? (if I had a nickel every time I was asked that...) it's not just that I love that song, it's that elementary school kids singing or getting awards on stage never cease to melt my heart. And as a sub, I've been to so many of these things, and it never stops being adorable. I don't even know most of these kids, but there's nothing sweeter than seeing those toothless grins and pigtails holding their "Homework Excellence" award proudly on stage, or hearing a group of kindergarteners sing "What a Wonderful World" (and yes, that DID reduce me to tears, mostly because my own little niece was part of it and I think she's the center of the known universe and everything she does is made of sunshine and rainbows and glitter).

But the kids today stole my heart. Their awkward robotic dancing to "Twist & Shout" and the group of 5th grade boys who are just at the brink of thinking they're too cool for these kind of shenanigans singing shyly to "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." These are the moments that parents videotape so everyone can look back in a while and laugh. Because kids are hilarious. They are the funniest, craziest creatures.

I think that's why I love my job so much. I get to see these moments all the time. And for every instance of them being total Olympic Gold, Grade A buttheads, they redeem themselves with moments of such cuteness that you forget that 20 minutes ago, you wanted to duct-tape their mouths shut.

So thank you, Beatles, for providing another venue for children to win over teachers' hearts.

Monday, February 22, 2010

No Plans?

Apparently, today the children of Room 4 Kindergarten were all fed the exact same breakfast, which was raw sugar and Red Bull, and then sent to school to shred their substitute teacher's nerves like soft cheese on a grater.

It was like trying to herd cats. There were 34 of them, and only one of me. At some point, I realized that I was not going to make it out alive if I did not think fast (did I mention the teacher left NO PLANS?! D: ) and I would never see my family again and also miss the April 13th premiere of Glee. But thankfully, the DVD player worked, and I am safe and alive and did not leave my sub number for that teacher.

It's always great to leave a day like that. It feels like a triumph. Like I was Indiana Jones in the Elementary School of Doom and I just barely skirted disaster...but I did it. I made it.

Serious Problem Facing Our Nation's Schools...

Yesterday I was with kindergarteners and 1st graders, and HOLY COW there is a serious bad breath issue in schools today. Forget obesity, this issue could kill me as I hold my breath every time they get like 2 inches from my face and ask me "MISS P!? DID I DO THIS RIGHT?!" with as much breathing on me as they can, meanwhile I am about to set a Guinness record for breath-holding.

Christen went through a phase of refusing to brush her teeth and I would force her before I took her because I do not like being breathed on with dragon-breath. Seriously kid, you have like 8 teeth. How hard is it to brush? They make all kinds of fun toothpastes and toothbrushes and super colors and GET THAT STUFF IN YOUR MOUTH AND WASH STAT! I even scared her, telling her if she didn't brush the germs in her mouth would get into her body and make her sick and she's have to get 100 shots in the hospital, tied to 4 IVs and a facemask and her doctor would be really mean and ugly.

Also, how is it that places like Indonesia and Pakistan can get their kids to like, assemble shoes and clothing, and I couldn't get 20 1st graders to string Fruit Loops onto yarn to make necklaces? It was like THE HARDEST THING EVAR YOU GUIZE. I was like "okay, WATCH ME. It's SUPER EASY. USE A COLOR PATTERN, WHATEVER YOU WANT, AND PUT 100 LOOPS ON THE YARN. [I write 100 on the board] GOT IT?"

"Miss, how many?!"
"Teacher, what do I do?"
"Miss! Robert eated the cereal!"
"Miss, can you count this?"
"Miss, how many?"


Seriously, I want to tell the poor children in sweatshops, "If you guys start acting like total turdrockets like American kids, they'd stop making you work. Srsly."

Athletic Prowess

I subbed high school P.E. today. Brought back lots of fun memories. Faking cramps to get out of P.E....faking injuries to get out of P.E....faking doctor's notes to get out of P.E....I did some of my finest acting in P.E.!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

good gravy...

While working on phonics with the kindergarteners today, (the 'sl' blend) I foolishly ask "and what other words besides 'sled' have an 'sl' in them?" A child shouts "SLUTTY!" and I blurt "SLEDDING! YES OF COURSE!" D: For the 'sh' blends, I heard "shawty" and "shut-up"...and I need to stop working at the Dr. Dre Center for Shawties N Books. These children are a bunch of thugs with sippy-cups.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The 6th graders were being loud and unruly, so I went to the phone. It got quiet, all eyes on me. I looked at them dead serious, and said "I'm calling the police." 32 jaws dropped in shock. I said "No, I'm not. But I should." I was actually calling my mom to ask for peanut butter and crackers for lunch. But it was worth the 5 seconds of sheer terror in their eyes. Little monsters.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

So today I am in 2nd grade. The teacher is out sick. That always squicks me out because I am at their desk, using their stuff, to teach their germ-factory children. So for good measure, I broke out the Clorox wipes (every classroom has them stocked) and wiped down everything she could have touched. Then, I wiped down the kids' desks. I stopped myself just short of actually wiping down the kids. And to be nice, I wiped down her whiteboard tray and markers (she had near 20 of them) and arranged them in rainbow order. Why? Because I'm insane I love to clean classrooms.

For a substitute, who gets exposed to new children every day, I have a surprisingly tough immune system. That, coupled with the fact that I was never allowed to be dirty as a child by my highly-intense clean freak of a mother, makes me wonder how I am not always sick. I have had 1 ear infection in my life. I was formula fed. My mother used to bleach out toys and wash stuffed animals every week. I did not go to preschool. But I was never sick. Two years ago I did catch a bad cold and lost my voice for 2 days, over the Thanksgiving holiday break, but other than that, no serious infections. This past fall when I caught a weird bug, it lasted a day. And that seems to be the trend for me, that even if I am under the weather, it's over in a day.

I might just be one of those lucky individuals with good immunity, thank God, which is great in my profession. Watch, since I wrote this, tomorrow I will catch the flu, the plague and hepatitis all at once.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Did you know that teachers now have microphones? They have these little mics they wear around their neck so they don't have to project their voices.

Did you know when you yell into a microphone, you sound like the angry voice of God booming down on them?

Cause I did.

Adding 'classroom mic' to my teacher wishlist.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I started the day off with my cardigan on me inside out and only noticed when my mom said "Hey, that looks wrong" and I said "No, it just looks that way" and she said "Okay, then why is the tag on the outside?" and lo and behold, it was inside out. This might not be so sad for me if this was an isolated incident. But alas, I have done this several times. Several. Like, in the last month.

I think the problem is that I often hang up my clothes as I take them off, which is inside out, because I have the undressing skills of the average 4 year old and my clothes come off in a tangled heap. And so not to wrinkle them, I put them on the hanger however I get them. And if my mom hadn't saved me (and subsequently laughed her ass off) I would be known as that sub who dresses herself in the dark.

I just read the sub note from the day before and these kids are monsters. Ugh. I am waiting for them to get here, but gosh I am already dreading it. I hate being mean and firm and all that. But if I act like myself, which is pretty mellow, they go nuts. It's like a free-for-all to behave like they're chimpanzees on a crack binge. You'd think they'd take my mellow vibe and get mellow themselves, but the preteen brain works in opposites. Mathematically, it becomes:

Me+crazy=them+calm. Me+calm=them+crazy(x4).

And this teacher's classroom is making me claustrophobic. Weirdest arrangement possible, the desks are all cluttered together in uneven rows and her desk is shoved into a cramped corner with stuff everywhere. Ugh. I do not get how teachers can function like this. I really feel that kids take the vibe of the room and exemplify it in their behavior. I wish I could just be blunt and tell them, "Look, what I need you to do today...actually, the only thing I need you to do today, is to CALM THE HELL DOWN. That's it. Just CALM DOWN. I don't even care if you doodle in your notebooks for the full hour, my day will be exponentially better if you are all quiet and calm, because my only goal as a substitute teacher is to survive to 3 o'clock. Thank you."

I wish.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I will make better choices....

Written by a very unruly 3rd grader, who apparently has loads of bad choices to contemplate.