Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Paging Dr. P....

When there’s a sub, kids always suddenly have stomach-aches and random body pains. In the early years, I would be very concerned, sending kids to the nurse immediately, only to have them returned to class 10 minutes later, perfectly fine. Then I learned an important lesson: kids fake it. I should know, if they handed out Academy Awards to kids for dramatic faking of illnesses to get out of schoolwork, I’d be Meryl Streep. I made papercuts look like I was dying of blood loss. I spent so much time in the nurse's office in high school, I learned more about diseases from those pamphlets than I did in health class. So I wised up to these little turds very fast.

Today it went like this:

Kid: My stomach hurts.

Me: Did you eat breakfast?

Kid: Yeah.

Me: What did you eat?

Kid: Cereal.

Me: Cold or hot?

Kid: Cold.

Me: What kind? Cheerios? Cap'n Crunch?

Kid: Uhh...Corn Flakes.

Me: Do you feel like barfing or just like its kinda bugging you?

Kid: Like kinda bugging.

Me: Okay. If you feel like barfing, you run out of this room immediately, okay? Don’t even raise your hand. Just go.

Kid: Kay.

Me: Are you hungry? Right now?

Kid: Uh…no.

Me: Do you have a headache?

Kid: No.

Me: Did you sleep well last night?

Kid: Yeah.

Me: What time did you go to bed?

Kid: Um…9?

Me: How many fingers am I holding up? *hold up three*

Kid: 3 (they usually giggle here)

Me: I want you to get a drink of water, and we’ll wait 30 minutes and see how your stomach feels. Relax a little, put your head down if you need to for a bit. Remind me again in 30 minutes, okay?

Kid: Kay.

90% of the time, the kid’s “ache” magically disappears. I KNOW. I AM MIRACLE-WERKER YEAH? They just need a little extra attention. I can be pretty silly and they don’t seem to realize it…just yet.

I also love when they frantically raise their hand, "Miss P! Miss P! I'm bleeding! I need a band-aid!" and I see the world's most microscopic cut, with NO visible blood. I always tell them "Band-aids are expensive, you need to be bleeding, guys. These aren't stickers. I need to see at least a pint of blood leave you, at least (jk a quart will pass)" I've dealt with nosebleeds, bumped heads and scraped knees. I've also had to deal with a lot of hurt feelings, and those are probably the saddest and funniest at the same time. A 3rd grader, face wet with tears, sobbing so loudly into my arms about how their friend told them they weren't their friend anymore because they didn't return their eraser and OMG LIFE IS FALLING APART WHY GOD WHY and I just offer a hug and a sympathetic ear and a tissue, and reconcile the friends when the tears have dried.

We sometimes forget that school is not all about academics. Life happens here, too. Bumps and bruises and broken hearts. Teachers have to be ready for it all.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

a word to the wise

To the 5th graders:

"Hey guys, I don't know if you know this, but my ears still work when I turn my head to the board. I know, it's crazy, but they're not like eyes. I can still hear you. Did I just blow your mind or what?"

Monday, April 26, 2010

Calling the Bank

On Friday, right at the beginning of the day with my lovely, lovely little demons first graders, I checked my online banking statement and saw that someone had charged $800 to my account. I know it was not me because I was not in an arcade in NYC on Tuesday. Duh.

Anyway, I panicked, seeing as how I WAS ROBBED and I immediately realized I was in charge of children, and I needed to stay calm. So I said, very calmly, "Okay boys and girls, I need you to do something very important. I need you to BE QUIET because I have to make an important phone call to the bank. PLEASE be quiet, or you will not get a popsicle or oxygen art time or anything." (beg & threaten, that's how I roll).

So I called the bank as they read quietly and I explained the situation over the phone. But reading didn't stop them from listening intently. I saw their eyes widen when I repeated "$800." And when I verified my full name, a few turned to each other like they had just been privy to some TOP SECRET information. When I got off the phone, a little girl said "Miss, your real name is Teresa?" I said "Yes."


She looked like she was about to run out to the playground and shout "I KNOW MISS P's REAL NAME!!!" Because when you're 6, all your teachers' names are Miss or Mrs. And they all live in their classrooms and sleep under their desks and eat apples. She was so pleased to discover this about me. I don't think if my name was Beetlejuice she'd have been more surprised.

I shook her little world up that day. Miss P has a real name!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What Matters...

Written by a 2nd grader. If they don't appreciate me teaching them about fractions, at least I got a compliment on my style.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

That's not it...

Me: What are some ways that we can help keep our earth clean? What are things we can do every day?

*class raises hands*

2nd grader: My cat died.

Me: 0_o

2nd Grade

Day 1: Finished. All have survived. I even got a great drawing from one of them:

I have white teeth, and I know this because I spend money on that whitening toothpaste. I also have a nose. I have a lot of nose, actually. I think she was daunted by it and just left it out completely. And I am not a redhead. My hair is dark brown with a red tint, so I guess I'll give her half-credit for that. I don't know why she wished me sweet dreams.

I always apreashyate their portraits of me.


Every so often, I get a frantic call from a frazzled school office manager. They flash the Sub Signal into the dark skies of Gotham City and I immediately respond.

Office Manager: Oh, SuperSub! We have a 2nd grade teacher who just broke her ankle! Her class is kind of difficult, and we need you for the week. Do you think you can handle this? We needed an experienced substitute, someone who could handle these kids….can you help us, SuperSub?

Me: Duty calls. I’ll be right there. 8 am sharp. Does this cape match my cardigan?

Office Manager: I just have to warn you, she has a girl with serious behavior issues. You might not be able to handle it, SuperSub.

Me: There is no child that can scare me away. I am here to serve, protect and distract. *cape blows in the wind*

Office Manager clasps her hands in relief.

And the students of Gotham City can sleep well, because they will be in capable hands. And also, I bribe them with popsicles.

(and I know Batman gets the Bat Signal, not Superman, but I always thought he should. That signal was awesome. )