Kindergarten cop

Lyon Keating:

Actually more specifically this should be called “2nd grade young man hating life while at an elementary school.  Here’s a glimpse into my life.

Damn, I can’t find any high school or even middle school substitute jobsL  Oh well, I suppose I can work with the little ones for a bit.  It’s good for me right?  Right!  What’s this, second grade?  Okay this works, how bad can it be?  Weren’t those the last words of George Bush as he invaded Iraq?

“Okay guys, listen up…3…2…1.  Okay 3…2…1.  I need you to be quiet in three seconds and this is not quiet.  3!, 2!, 1!  Good!  Thank you.  No, you can’t go to the bathroom, you just got into class.  C’mon get on the rug like everyone else.  You! what’s your name?  Jenny, I need you on the rug.  Okay…Jenny I’m not going to say it any more.  Do you really want your name on the board after just five minutes?”  “Here name’s not Jenny, my name is Jenny and I don’t want my name on the board.” Chimed another student.  “And what is YOUR name then?”  “Rachael, Jessica, Anne” came multiple responses from other students because it seemed like they didn’t know who I was talking about and probably just yelling out their own names.  “Well, I’m just going to put purple head band and mickey mouse shirt on the board then.  Okay, lets start over.  Everyone on the rug.  Thank you, shhhhhhhhhhh, thank you.  Alright, my name is Mr. Ryan” as I write it on the board.  “You mean m, r, dot, Ryan?”  says Anthony.  “Yeah whatever call me whatever you like.  Okay, your teacher is out today and I’m here”…rrrrrrrr….Five minutes into the day and I already have veins throbbing in my forehead.  Is this what having kids is like.  By the looks of my brothers and sister and friends who have ventured forth I would guess so.  One of the unfortunate things about subbing, as if all of this isn’t unfortunate, is you don’t know the kids names and when you just point at a kid and say “You” or “purple head band” or whatever that doesn’t really command the respect and kids attention as if you knew their name.  Not to mention I’m horrible with names.  It takes me about 20 times to call someone something before I know what their name is so this is a double whammy on my end.  In the end, not knowing names sucks and makes you feel like a clown trying to get the kids attention because how else are you going to get their attention than waving your arms or doing something stupid….rrrrrr again.

“If I have to stop reading one more time I’m going to send you back to your desk and you won’t be able to join us for the rest of the story on the rug.”  The only problem with saying this is that in the kids mind he really doesn’t want to be listening to a story on the rug and his desk in the back of the class looks way more fun and I just invited him to act out again.  “Sage, back of the class!,” “But I didn’t do anything,” “What are you talking about, I just said 2 times if I caught you talking during reading you were going to the back of the class to sit in your desk,” “But I was whispering”, “Back.”  “Ahhhhhhh whatever” Sage whimpers… “Is there anyone else who would like to join Sage in the back of the class.”  Three hands go up.  “Alright, lets take a seat in the back.  Thank you, yeah right there.  Okay so where was I….I will not hop on pop, pop will not hop on the spot, why won’t pop hop on the spot…..Sage!  What did I just say?  Why did I just send you back there?”  “Well I was talking on the rug and you never said I couldn’t talk back here.”  Sigh “okay Sage you sit in the back corner and you sit in the other corner and you two sit in the other two opposite corners.  No talking, no getting up out of your seat, no disturbing others, NOTHING.”  One of the things that people don’t notice about teachers is that when certain kids irk them there is a special part of their brain that is specifically listening to see if that same kid screws up again.  Because of this, kids who mess up once are way more likely to be caught again because even if a dog came rushing into the room barking it would not distract the teacher fully from noticing that the disciplined child’s pencil might have fallen on the floor.

“Who can tell me what Acrosports is?”  I had to take the kids to something called Acrosports at 10:30am and I was wondering what it was, but I made the vital mistake of not saying who can raise their hand and tell me what Acrosports is.  A jittery kid jumps up and instantly plops himself down on the floor and starts wiggling and kicking his feet and doing a sort of caterpillar, wormlike motion.  “Oh you guys do the worm in Acrosports.  Do you know that I can do the worm probably better than anything you’ve ever seen?”  “Yahhh do it, do it m, r, dot, Ryan!”  The worm is one of those things that I’ll admit I never get tired doing or seeing done.  It is a sort of break dance move that involves lying on the ground and thrusting  your hips into the ground to the point that your arms and feet offset your hip and your body moves like a worm or caterpillar across the floor.  It is undoubtingly one of the coolest things I’ve ever learned how to do.  It is still early in the morning for me and I haven’t really stretched yet today but I just jump into doing it and basically every joint in my back cracks (and I wonder why I have back pain) but I do an extremely successful worm and the kids are in total awe that their teacher can do this.  Ahhh, I’ve won them over now for sure.  No not really, more like for about the next ten minutes until their little TV generation short attention span minds wander to some other short term pleasure.  This was pretty fun, though, and I know that a couple of them will remember forever the teacher that did the worm for them in their 2nd grand class.  I still remember the teacher who juggled flaming torches for me when I was little, or maybe it was bowling pins, whatever it was it was cool and led me to do the worm today.

A really annoying thing about subbing is when the teacher you are subbing for is actually on campus and pops into your classroom every now and then unexpected.  Not that anything weird is going on or I’m insecure of my abilities to handle a class, but obviously the kids are going to be disastrous or at the least unruly when a sub comes because they don’t know you and you don’t know them.  Teachers who haven’t subbed for a while forget this element about being a sub and lose sight that it is really hard for a sub to control a classroom much in the same way that a teacher does day in and out with her own class.  Often when teachers walk in their mouths open and the body language that they exhibit leads me to believe that they can’t believe what is going on with their sweet little darlings and I am obviously to blame.  Subbing is hard, especially handling different little munchgins everyday and not knowing their tendencies to keep them from literally jumping off the walls.  It is also annoying when the teacher walks in and then demands the presence and starts making commands overriding my own that I’ve made for the day.  I’ll be telling them what they need to be doing and then I’ll be interrupted as if I wasn’t even talking.  So I guess I’m just suppose to sit back and not act like I’m there whenever the teacher comes.  Hey, I’m you for the day!  There can’t be two of you’s.  Then when the teacher is in the classroom there is this expectation on my end to cater to every little need the child has, but really if little Sage is going to pout and sputter and just not do anything than that’s her business and I don’t give a dame.  I guess that’s what makes me more successful with the high schoolers and NOT with the little ones.  On one of her unexpected visits to the room she once again interrupts me and says, “So Ryan, we are all going to pick up this trash aren’t we?”  Hey lady not only did you interrupt me and totally ruin my whole authority pitch but do you notice that you’re talking to me like a fucking 2nd grader?  Teachers often do this, and part of me doesn’t blame them because it must get wearing through the years, but since they are constantly around a certain age of kid they in turn get used to conversing in that manner and talking to everyone like they are their students.  Really, the next time you talk to a teacher see if you notice any type of overbearing, belittling mumbo jumbo.  Anyway, I said yes we would pick up all the trash but I wanted to say “Chill lady!  I’ve subbed for you before.  Let me do my thing and everything will be peachy.”  Stupid overbearing teachers…

So how do we now clean this classroom that I’ve been instructed to do like a Kindergarten child?  Easy, I’ll just tell them to clean up.  “Okay eyes up here, eyes up here, on me, on me, on me…3…2…1.  Good!  You guys are getting so much better at this.”  Now what I want from all of you is to make this classroom spotless.  See all the pens, pencils, markers, scissors, the tiny little paper stars of garbage that are everywhere under everyone’s desk?  They all need to be picked up, and the fastest two groups to get them picked up will get a star on the board and in line first to go outside and get balls for free play.  Okay so let’s make this classroom spotless!”  Not bad I do say.  It was so motivational that I almost convinced myself that I needed to pick up a few of those little annoying paper stars as well.  As soon as I ended my speech with the word spotless it was like the hyper button had been pushed on about ten of my kids to yell out “SPOTLESS” and jump out of their seats and rush over to the cabinets and instantly take out windex, glass cleaner, sponges, and other cleaning supplies.  Really I was expecting them to just bend over and pick up the garbage that was on and under their tables but since they jumped so suddenly up and seemed to know what they were doing I thought, well maybe this is part of their normal routing and I’ll let them just go ahead with it.  Well the whole classroom got very quickly out of control as the ten kids who originally were so excited and rushed over to the cupboards ignited that same passion in all the other kids as well.  Pretty soon they were all fighting over the windex bottles and spilling it everyone and when they were actually trying to clean the desk tops they were spraying an extreme overload amount of windex.  To make it even worse many of the kids grabbed sponge scrapers instead of normal sponges to rub in the windex and clean it off.  This made an even huger mess as the windex was lathering up everywhere and just being spread around.  To make it even worse there was an enormous amount of toxic cleaning chemicals in the air which was starting to make me a little dizzy and I had to rush over and open the windows and the doors only to find more kids climbing all over the counters spraying even more windex on the windows and dirtying up the counters they just cleaned with their dirty shoe marks.  Kids were really starting to climb on the walls.  This cleaning was getting out of control!  AHHHHHHH……..  Amidst all the chaos I had a very zen calming moment where I didn’t hear anything around me or smell the toxins in the air.  I couldn’t believe all this madness was happening around me and I couldn’t believe this was my job.  How did all these years of education lead to this?  I’m a freaking baby sitter.  What am I doing spending my days cleaning up after messy, out of control children?  Am I their parents, screw these kids.  I could very easily just walk out of the classroom and leave this school and this situation.  Find a way out, find a way out, snap out of it, do something, oh my god they’re spraying each other in the eyes now…Obama save me!

“STOP!!!!  NO MORE WINDEX, PUT THE WINDEX DOWN, PUT THE WINDEX DOWN!!!!”  Half the kids responded but I had to physically chase down the rest of them because it was just so much fun to clean the counter tops and squirt your friends with windex.  God I hope nobody swallows any.  Okay got a hold of the windex.  “NOW EVERYONE STOP USING THE SCRAPY SPONGES.  I ONLY WANT TO SEE SOFT SPONGES AND PAPER TOWELS TO CLEAN UP THE REST OF THE MESS.”  Once again I could not have foreseen what was in store after I muttered these words.  Another ten kids instantly ran out of the classroom across campus into the bathroom all screaming because it was so much to get brown paper towels from the bathroom.  I charged the door and grabbed and clawed back the five more kids who were just about outside the door firmly holding the damn back.  And of course the ten kids or so who escaped were running all around campus screaming in and out of the bathroom and having a day that they’ll remember forever.  If anyone were to look outside their window or door they would plainly see that my class was projectile vomiting kids out of it like a drunken Irishman and that my classroom was filled with over excited, screaming kids.  Eventually the kids came back and I’m relieved that nobody saw or maybe wanted to deal with it because no other teachers came over.  The five minute expected clean up process took about twenty five minutes and then we went out to free play where I sat down and started to regain my non-heart attack status breathing patterns.

I love Kindergarten and little kids!


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