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?
Me: What did you eat?
Me: Cold or hot?
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.
Me: Are you hungry? Right now?
Me: Do you have a headache?
Me: Did you sleep well last night?
Me: What time did you go to bed?
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?
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.