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.