Friday, May 22, 2015

Tales of a Substitute Teacher: Damn, Those Boyz Can Dance!



video

Yes, I know. I substituted a "z" where there should be an "s". I made a creative choice that just felt rightly urban for this group of limber 7-year old boys who could, via the merit of their fancy light-as-air footwork, make a fortune as street entertainers in NYC. Let's move on.


I subbed 2nd grade today.. After a year's hiatus, I returned to Winston Park Elementary, my girls' alma mater. Pulled into parking space #47 (part of my lucky number), waved to Mr. Dave, and rolled into the administration building. Big hellos to many of the teachers and hugs for some more. Unlike some schools where I wander aimlessly down halls looking for adult conveniences, here I already knew where the teacher bathrooms were located. An all around win-win.
Hey, Mrs. Trotter (sung to the tune of "Mrs. Potter's Lullaby") 
"At 12:45 your class will go to the school fair," said Mrs. Trotter, an inspiring teacher and, later I learned, excellent dancer. The Student Appreciation Fair happens every year. Sponsored by the PTA, there is an array of old fashioned mostly wooden carnival games plus sno-cones, popcorn, cotton candy, and spin art. This year there was a DJ, a very funny one, who was not satisfied until I got up and danced...which I did and it was fun. We were all sweaty and quite happy.

Last year I spent most of my time subbing in the middle schools. I liked the challenge of converting serial disrespectors and staunch apatheticists (first misspellings, and now made-up words! Hey - it's my blog!) to listeners and learners. I was mildly successful; they are a very tough crowd. It gets really tiring.


When I returned to elementary school, I felt a distinct vibe of optimism. Here children are open, curious and eager to please. Their smiles and willingness to share is rewarding, even though those stories about the dog that their father's uncle's mother's friend found on the street can get a bit out of control. (I actually tell them "I love to hear from you but because I will probably never meet your father's uncle's mother's friend or see her dog, it would be so much more interesting to learn something about you.") We had a great day talking about Benjamin Franklin and practicing triple digit subtraction that demanded extensive borrowing. I left with some second grade swag: drawings, notes, and two Loom Band bracelets which I am told will glow in the dark..


P.S. Dear Ms. LaClair,  I hope you are feeling better. If you are reading this blog, I left my unfinished Starbucks coffee in the classroom. It's on the desk by the white board. Sorry!