Monday, March 11, 2013

Funny Story

Okay. It's definitely a Monday. I started out my day waking up late. Rushed the kids through showers and breakfast, kicked them out of the house and watched them run to school. Then I hustled to shower and dress before rushing to join my second grader. I help out with the kids on Mondays. Today there was a substitute. Bummer, because I absolutely love my kid's teacher. But okay. It's a great school, and I've worked with the subs before.

The sub was new to me and seemed nice. She was telling the kids about their writing assignment--my specialty. I help them with grammar or spelling or guidance on how to think up ideas of what to write. So as the sub is handing me papers to give to them, she's guiding them on their assignment. Now these kids do this same weekly write-up every Monday. They write a note to someone at home who can write back. And they're learning how to write conversationally. Great stuff.


So jokingly, I said to the little buggers as I was handing out papers, "Yeah, you can write about how your brother didn't annoy you this past weekend. Or how you sister did a great job of not flushing a rubber duck down the toilet." Simple joke, right? Half of these kids are 7 going on 14. Funny and smart, and they know it's all in fun.

The substitute, however, looked at me as if I'd just offered to skin and sacrifice her first born. "We don't want to write anything negative," she said with a forced happy smile. "Just fun things. Positive ideas, kids. Write a thank to your mom or dad. Something nice."

"I was just teasing," I tried to defend myself. But the odd look she gave me told me there would be funny stories about the crazy parent helping during writing time. The woman watched me carefully for the next half hour I was there. Though I did my best to not shoot her an Are you friggin' kidding me? look, I think she might have seen it. So I did my uber best to think positive, continued to tease and help the kids, and quieted them down a few times with promises of good kid tickets. 

I cut my time short and said goodbye after helping the kiddos with their work. And you know, they did a good job writing to their families. A new iPad app, excitement about an upcoming trip, the girl who loves huskies wants another dog... To my delight, one girl wrote to her mother about how some other student was on her nerves. Another counseled his older brother not to be crazy in class, so as not to get in more trouble. Classic. The kids were being creative and funny. And not in a Dick and Jane are happy and good all the time kind of way.

I guess I don't see the problem of what kids write so long as they're writing. Sure, you get concerned if it's violent content or graphic depictions of something horrific. But snarky or teasing? Go for it. I had to laugh on the way home, because I'm a bit too old to put in the corner. But I swear, had that sub been able to, I might have spent my time writing 100 times on a white board about being positive. Yeah, I'm positive being good and nice is no fun.

8 comments:

Sue V. said...

Marie,

A funny story true, but be careful.

That substitute might report you to the administration for offering inappropriate suggestions and get you banned from being a classroom aide. Or the administration doesn't want to deal with defending you, so banning you is just easier.

Today's society is just that f**ked up and there are some individuals who are put in a position of authority who don't know how to handle it and go off the deep end trying to make their preferences law. Or administrations take the path of least resistance because it usually is the past of the least offended.

I hope you get to enjoy many more days in your kid's classroom!

Marie Harte said...

Yeah, Sue. Before I ever went in to volunteer, I made sure the teacher knew I write spicy romance--not that I would teach the kids how to write THAT, but so she would know and not get in trouble for having me in class.

I honestly don't see how the sub could view what I said as anything but a poor attempt at humor. But like you said, you never know.

Part of the problem might be that I have a snarky sense of humor, and I know these kids and they know me. I gave a talk about writing at the beginning of the year and used similarly teasing comments in front of the teachers too. No biggie.

I think this was just a case of an older teacher thinking way inside the box.

Anonymous said...

What am I missing? Isn't NOT flushing a rubber ducky down the toilet a "positive" thing? Must be that East coast mentality keeping it real.

Marie Harte said...

See? That's what I thought. Yes, I said NOT. But did the substitute catch that? Nooooo. I'm telling you. She was eyeballing me something fierce. LOL West Coasters...shaking head.

Angi C said...

Too funny and too silly on the teacher's part. I'm SOOOOO glad none of my kids teachers or subs was ever like that.

I was well known as 'the field trip mom' especially once my youngest was in school. I was THE parent teachers fought over to get my kids in their classes LOL

They all also understood who I was and where I stood. That I was there as support for them but if they wouldn't (or couldn't) deal with a disrespectful child ... I certainly would. I could get away with a lot more than a teacher could.

I think I did a pretty good job with those kids. Several of them friended ME on facebook :) Love those kids to death. And miss it madly.

Angi C said...

Too funny and too silly on the teacher's part. I'm SOOOOO glad none of my kids teachers or subs was ever like that.

I was well known as 'the field trip mom' especially once my youngest was in school. I was THE parent teachers fought over to get my kids in their classes LOL

They all also understood who I was and where I stood. That I was there as support for them but if they wouldn't (or couldn't) deal with a disrespectful child ... I certainly would. I could get away with a lot more than a teacher could.

I think I did a pretty good job with those kids. Several of them friended ME on facebook :) Love those kids to death. And miss it madly.

Tracy said...

Sounds like the sub teacher has absolutely NO sense of humour....

The kids, with you being around them on a regular basis, will have known that you were joking and having fun - they need humour and light heartedness even when in school.....

Angi is right - as a parent helper in the school, you have a little more rope to play with and do get away with saying and doing things that a teacher can't or won't consider.....

I think this female today go her knickers in a knot over nothing and if she gave herself 2 minutes to think about it, she'd see that's the case!!!

Diana Mcc. said...

The sub sounded like an up-tight no nonsense panty hose in a twist kind-a-gal. You have a great sense of humor, Marie. Kids relate to that, and since you aren't a sub, you know the kids you're dealing with and how to get through to them. Kudos to you for volunteering!!!!