I started last week with two days as a substitute for a "special ed inclusion" teacher at the intermediate school. Basically, that meant that I didn't have a class to handle. I went from class to class helping students who need a little extra attention, but always under the direction of another teacher. This was probably the perfect way for me to start out. I wasn't overwhelmed and I had lots of direction. And, if I had done it a few more days, eventually I might be able to do 5th grade math.
Today, I substituted for a middle school coach. Again, I wasn't alone most of the day, there was another coach handy who provided direction, advice and support. I had two classes of tennis players, one seventh grade and one eighth grade; I had four PE classes, mostly sixth graders. I enjoyed it a lot.
But I just can't resist the urge to share some of the excuses and comments I heard during the day. Some of these were so off the wall that it was hard not to laugh out loud. They're not direct quotes, they're just approximations as closely as I recall. I've also included my responses.
- Miss, I can't run this morning 'cause I stayed up 'til 2 a.m. This is not my problem; run anyway.
- I don't think I should have had a brownie for breakfast. I don't think so either, but you've still got to run.
- Miss, your name is too hard to say. Is it okay if we just call you Mrs. Valentine? Seriously, you can say Valentine, but you can't say Valenta?
- I can't run because I started my period and my mom said not to run. Did you bring a note? No, but Coach already knows. Coach is not here today. Get your PE clothes on.
- I can't run because I hurt my hand. Really, you run on your hands? Unless you have a note, get running.
- Coach always lets us sit in the bleachers while we dribble. First of all, I don't believe that and second, I'm not Coach. Get up and play basketball.
- Miss, I need to pee! (Shouted from the back of the crowd of 45 or so students.) Thank you for sharing with the class, you may go to the rest room.
- Miss, I forgot my clothes (from at least 2 students in each of the 4 PE classes.) These resulted in an explanation from me that failure to participate results in a 10-point deduction off of their six-week grade. Then they argued that if I were a "cool" substitute, I would not leave a note for their coach noting said failures. I'm so not a cool substitute.
I also overheard a student from the other class that shared the gym who, though she did dress out, did not participate in any of the team basketball games. When class was over she went up to the other coach and said "Miss, I don't know what team I'm on."
I would also like to point out that this school has a very strict dress code. Among other rules, all students are required to tuck in their shirts. This required me to stand at the locker room exit and remind them to tuck in their shirts. The response to this was, in most cases, a shoving in of only the front of the shirt right behind the belt buckle and that was it. Really, does that constitute tucking in a shirt?
Tomorrow, I will be teaching 7th grade science. Please God, no dissections.