Today, February 19, I substitute taught a first grade class at Bertha Holt Elementary School. Love that school. Actually, there’s not an elementary school in Eugene or Springfield that I don’t like or even love.
Today’s highlights were bookends on a great day. Typically, I’m not a morning person. 7:30 in the morning report time didn’t get me up on the right side of the bed, though after feeding the Pack of Labs, my sour mood disintegrated. Sorry Ricky, Abby, and Lucy, but you were not one of the bookends.
What really started the day off was when the first two little boys came into the classroom. Upon entering after the first little boy arrived, the child was disappointed that he was not the first child in the room. I told him that the other little boy was also not the first child in the classroom that I was the first child. They laughed and said that that wasn’t possible. Why? I asked. Almost simultaneously, they said that I couldn’t because I was a teacher. I pointed to the student-teacher and said she was it; she probably didn’t realize we were playing tag and she were now it.
I stomped my foot as lightly and as emphatically as possible and showed my displeasure by making my lower lip stick out. I begged and pleaded, “Can’t I be a kid again just today?” I told them that that wasn’t fair and retreated. The boys laughed at me. I think I made bonus points with Anthony. Anthony, and these names by the way are fictitious, except for the school, so don’t get the wrong idea, was one of eight children on a point card system. For the ten years I’ve been in the business, that’s far the most I’ve ever seen. Maybe our early morning pre-class joshing session allowed him to deal with another sub and not have any behavioral problems.
These special moments I have with kids aren’t things that can be planned. It’s like a teachable moment, though the majority of the time, I become the student.
The day was coming to an end. a room full of first graders going in so many directions is tiring for me. It was fun, but I was ready for some Lab time. While waiting for parents to pick their children up, I had a chance to shoot the dandy Lion with a student who complained about always being the last one to be picked up. I took a dandy lion and flicked the head up high into the sky with my thumb. The kid looked at me with astonishment, a feat that marveled anything that he’d ever seen before. Okay, so he’s only a first grader and easily impressed, but that’s okay. I’ll take a minute or two of Fame even with a small munchkin.
For two minutes we both picked the weeds and watched heads fly. And every one of them caused my heart to soar as well.
This moment is brought to you by, “This is Why I teach.”