Friday, March 18, 2016

Six Weeks, Done

"Wemember when I told you that even if you sent me to my desk and made me put my head down, I was still going to be willy nice and help you out?" he asked, staring at me from behind his chocolate eyes.

"Yes, I remember," I said, trying not to smile.

"That was willy nice of me wasn't it?

"Yes, sir," I said. "It was very nice of you."

I said goodbye to my kindergartners today after six weeks with them. I'll be back on Monday in a different classroom--it's what I do--but today I bid this particular bunch adieu. I'm grateful for this job that allows me spurts of full time employment. There are things I hate about it, to be sure.

And things I love.

I love kindergartners.

I love their sweet faces, their ah-ha moments, their sometimes hilarious answers to things. I love being able to help shape them just a little bit. I love when they throw their arms around me and call me their best friend teacher. (Whatever that means.)

At this job, I loved being able to go see my own kids at lunch every day. I loved knowing that they were in the same building as me, just down around a corner or two. I loved seeing their faces when they walked past the classroom I was in.

No one ever says, "I want to be a substitute teacher when I grow up." It's not something one really aspires to. I usually don't even admit to it, but instead tell people I'm a stay-at-home mom. That makes it sound more like I'm choosing not to work outside the home and less like I have an $80,000 dollar education and nothing to show for it.

The thing is this. I'm not always a good sub. I have moments of not being the best I can be, of being frustrated, of wanting to tell them that I can think of a really good place for them to shove their math paper. But I try really hard to be a decent substitute teacher, to leave a room better than I found it, to return a class to their rightful owner mostly unscathed. And I think I do ok.

If you're the CEO of a major corporation--do it to the best of your ability. If you're just a filler teacher with an expensive theatre degree and no teaching license--fill that position to the best of your ability. And, in the end, you might get a bag full of candy and a thank you note from a parent telling you that you were fabulous.

And it might make your day.

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