Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Part-time substitute teaching definitely has its pros and cons - what it lacks in consistency and predictability, it makes up for in donut-filled pink boxes in the teachers' lounge. Not to mention plenty of blog-worthy stories...
It already happened twice this year. Teachers leaving ME to do their dirty work - that one health book lesson they save for the sub to teach: the ill effects of drugs and alcohol, compliments of Red Ribbon Week. One lesson was in a 4th grade class. The other one - the most interesting and revealing one - a 2nd grade class.
So there I was, textbook in hand. And per the teacher's instruction, I stood before the class and read out loud things like, "Tobacco is a plant. Some people like to chew it. It can give you cancer." And, "Alcohol can make people angry. It can also make people act silly."
Hold on. Was I really teaching seven-year-olds about chewing tobacco and how it may cause mouth cancer? And was I really telling them about a special drink that can make them even sillier?
And before I could process the age-appropriateness of it all, the hands shot up:
"My dad drinks eight beers every night!"
"My dad goes for the whiskey!"
And for the most revealing,
"My mom is in prison, and I live with my grandma!"
And all was said with the same enthusiasm as: "I sat on Santa's lap, and he promised me a pink pony!"
Oh for the love of substitute teachers across the globe! Can we please go back to popping in a Jack Cousteau video or teaching the kids a quick lesson on how to 'carry the one?'
Kids are just so airing of their family's dirty laundry. We subs know things now. It makes me wonder what my kids are telling their teachers. "When my mom flips out, she really FLIPS OUT. That's when her demon voice comes out!"
Of all things, right? I almost told the class, "And for our next lesson, we'll be discussing the importance of putting a filter on the things we say."
A more fitting lesson would be to tell them that families are a work in progress. Especially us mommies and daddies. And then I might throw in one of my favorite Beth Moore quotes:
"If we could get our external lives under perfect and legalistic control, we'd probably rot on the inside with the heinous sin of pride. Given enough time, circumstance, and opportunity, we're all hopeless - except that Jesus came as the Son of God."
Only I wouldn't say it exactly like that. Would probably be a bit much. So I'd keep it simple and stick to the basics, maybe even quote my Aunt Shanna's answer to all-things heavy: "God made the world. Jesus loves the children."
But every good sub has her tricks, and my best drug topic - any topic - redirecting tactic is to ask this question, "Now who wants to play Heads Up 7-up?" And then call it a day.