My one friend is like this. I don’t even know what to say to her.
So I’m a substitute teacher, and my discomfort reached a new level today when I heard three middle school girls talking about pedobear.
Except they pronounced it ‘pee-doo-bear,’ and I realized from their conversation that they had no idea that pedobear represented pedophilia. I couldn’t tell them it was inappropriate for school because I couldn’t tell them I knew what it was. FML these kids are going to kill me.
I substituted a third grade class today and met the sweetest little girl who was wearing these two lanyards around her neck. She was so cute, I had to ask her about them.
On the right is the vampire, Edward, and on the left is the little girl pig named Bob-Elaina, who has a cross to protect her from Edward.
I was substitute teaching an elementary class, and I saw this little boy drawing transformers. I was thrilled, and told him I love transformers and enthusiastically asked him about his drawings. This one, he says, is his own made-up character. It reminds me of Knockout with spikes.
I later discovered that he is typically one of the bad kids, but he behaved perfectly for me. I’ve since subbed that class more than once and he always behaves himself. I think we’re bros now.
I’m a substitute teacher and a Transformers fan. Today I substituted for a kindergarten class. The instructions said to read ‘Wheels on the Bus,’ but the kids wailed angrily because they’d read it yesterday. So instead I told them the story of the War for Cybertron, based on Transformers Exodus.
“Once upon a time, on the planet Cybertron, there lived a librarian…”
I’ve had to resort to this story before, and they always get a kick out of it when I tell them Optimus Prime worked in a library. I also tell them Megatron was a wrestler, since I can’t tell them he was a gladiator. But whenever I tell the story, the biggest surprise to them is that Optimus and Megatron used to be friends.
Moving on, something astounded me when I got to the part where Optimus and Megatron approached the ‘Cybertron government’ about the fact that they wanted to choose their own jobs. A little girl raised her hand and asked, “What’s the government?”
I was like, “Whoa, pause story time. The government?”
“Yeah! What is it?” she asked.
“Well… it’s the people who make the rules for a country.”
“Rules that keep us safe?”
“Yes, like keeping everyone driving on the same side of the road.”
“And no hitting?”
“Yes. That’s not allowed.”
“So what did Optimus do next?” a boy asked.
“And what was Bumblebee’s job?” asked another.
The story of the war continued, and we had the best Story Time ever.
Grade: 2nd / elementary
Subject: all-day class
A few girls came up to me, upset because one of the boys had something in his notebook and he was showing it to the other boys and laughing with them about it. I told him to give me the notebook but he was very, very unwilling. Finally he handed it over and I saw this drawing on the page. I disciplined him and confiscated the picture. But when I say confiscate, I really mean take home and show everyone.
Grade: 2nd / elementary
Gym class always means kids getting hurt, but even more, it means kids trying to get out of gym class. The high school and middle school students forget their clothes and the younger students just get themselves hurt and cry.
In this 2nd grade class a girl had a sudden coughing fit, her eyes quickly becoming bloodshot from the violent cough. I sent her to the nurse at once. But two minutes later I had no less than five girls start coughing and crying in a chain reaction, tears streaming down their faces as they begged to be sent to the nurse. In my inexperience and naivety at the time, I let them all go, thinking someone had sprayed something that irritated their throats. What was I thinking? Did one of them have pepper spray? It was simply dumb of me.
But really, the story I wanted to tell was about basketball. The kids lined up to shoot a basket, which was absurdly high for them. They threw as hard as they could, and only six out of twenty-five children even hit the basket with their ball. One of the lucky six threw his ball, which bounced hard against the rim and came back to smack him right in the face.
I was so sure he was going to cry. But when the ball fell from his face, his head swam dizzily and he spat out a tooth. He grinned, mouth bloody, and said, “Hey everyone, my loose tooth came out!”
All twenty-five of them ran over to surround us, all wanting a peek at the bloody tooth in his hand. I sent him off to the nurse, for the first time sending her a happy kid.
The Angry Redhead
Grade: high school
Class: technology education [The same two+ week job as ‘Lips and Nipples’]
I’m not biased against redheads. I occasionally color my hair red. But this guy’s bright red hair really matched his fiery temper. On the first day I was, naturally, going nuts trying to figure out what to do with them. The previous teacher had left almost nothing to work with but general goals for the semester. A boy approached me with a name I wish I could share because it was so striking. I’ll call him Max Allistead. So Max Allistead said he had nothing to do and wanted to go to the class next door, a shop class he often visited when he had nothing to do in tech ed. I allowed him to go.
The next day he did the same thing and I let him go. But later in the day another substitute came to me and told me Max was showing up in his class for a few minutes and then walking the halls aimlessly for the rest of the period. He told me, ‘do not let him leave again’.
The day after, sure enough, Max asked to leave. I told him, ‘not today’. He frowned and stalked off to his computer. Five minutes before the end of the period a boy with a medical condition asked to leave early for lunch. He’d done this the previous two days and so I was used to it. But this time, Max Allistead was walking behind him, carrying his books. The boy told me he wasn’t feeling well and needed Max to carry them. I’m pretty sure this was bogus, considering his medical condition concerned his throat, not his arms.
I stared daggers at the boy and asked, “Do you really need help?” He said he did. I looked at Max and back at the boy and made my decision. “If you need help, you’ll have to ask someone else.”
Max exploded behind him. “Why won’t you let me leave?” he shouted.
“It’s not my decision,” I said. “I have instructions not to let you out anymore.” It was cowardly of me, but he was a scary kid and I had to think fast.
“It was the sub next door, wasn’t it?” he growled. I told him to take his seat and he stormed off like I’d insulted his mother.
I’d like to say things turned out great with Max Allistead, but they really didn’t. He barely spoke to me for the next week and a half, and played with Adobe Photoshop (an art program) rather than doing his projects. On the second to last day I saw him using the smudge tool, smearing colors around the digital canvas. With eight years of experience using the program, Photoshop was my specialty. I approached him and opened a new file, some celebrity girl I took off the internet. I showed him how to use the same smudge tool to give her vampire fangs, pointed ears, longer eyelashes and bushy eyebrows. Of course he wasn’t impressed, and left the class without speaking to me. But the next day when he thought I was busy, I saw him using the smudge tool, putting a fancy set of shark teeth on a photograph of some poor girl.
Subject: supplemental reading
I went to pick a boy up from his class to bring him to the reading room. He was very tiny and shy, and kept quiet as we walked. In the hall another boy came out of his classroom, maybe a 2nd grader. To my surprise, they shared a little hug before my kindergartener continued walking. He looked up and said, “That’s my best friend.”
Bad Jokes and Fake Laughs
Grade: 8th grade/middle school
After finishing all of their work, I started chatting with the boys about high school. After a while they started to like me even more, and the conversations got more interesting. I became too comfortable and started telling the Lips and Nipples story. But as I told them the kid had pierced his own nipples, I realized my story was a flop. It was only my dumb grin that told them the story was over.
I really expected them to smile and cringe, but they burst into the most jovial and awkward laughter I’d ever heard. The bell rang and they said goodbye, and I couldn’t help feeling that the world was an okay place if middle school kids were laughing just to make me happy.