I have been a substitute teacher both in the public school system and at my daughter’s private school. I have substituted for pre-k all the way up to high school. One time I had a 7th grader burn up the pencil sharpener during a test (and smirk all the way back to his desk). One time I had a smart alec 10th grader ask snidely, “So what’s YOUR favorite Jackie Chan movie” hoping that I wouldn’t know who he was talking about (this was actually back in the mid-90s before Jackie Chan was more mainstream). I was able to answer (Twin Dragons) and even educate them on a few JC movies that they hadn’t seen. I’ve put an entire class of kindergarteners in “time out” (and was told that when their teacher put them all in time out, she did it differently) and I’ve built compasses from sticks in a sandbox. You never know what you’re going to do or get when you sub.
This morning I got a dead mole on my desk.
It was pretty awesome.
Monday I subbed a my daughter’s private school. A 6th grade English teacher was out with a horrible cold so I got to teach reading and writing. The first class of the day is an all boys class. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I have a son so that’s strike one to fear. We’ve been at this school for eight years, that’s strike two because I know most of the boys’ parents. Strike three is that at this point, I’m still bigger than they are. Well, for the most part. And I’ve been teaching this age for three years. My blisters are becoming callouses.
During the writing portion of the class, we studied appositive adjectives. (Appositive adjectives are usually found in pairs and follow the noun that they modify. Example: The bread, crusty and warm, tasted sweet in his mouth. Crusty and warm are the appositive adjectives. There, you learned something today.) I looked at the examples in the book, but when you have a room full of 10 year old boys, you need to make sure that they are engaged and that they can be interactive. So I decided that we would build our own sentence.
“Give me an animal. A non-human mammal.”
“Okay. Now let’s describe that molerat.”
Naked and pink.
“Great. Now tell me an action that this molerat does.”
Our sentence: The molerat, naked and pink, snuggled.
They loved it. We had other things that the molerat did, other adjectives to describe the molerat, but that was our first sentence. They really are a fun group.
Last night I got the call that the teacher was still sick, (she’s on antibiotics and getting better, but she wanted another day to rest and not have to talk) can I please sub again? No problem.
I walked into the room and there, on the desk, was a sandwich bag with a note stuck on it. The note said, “Happy birthday” and the bag contained a small, dead mole.
Read the rest of this entry »