Teaching: Not So Bad After All

I’ve been subbing since January and today was the last day of school. I have had many ups and downs with this experience: over all, a subbing job is easily boiled down to glorified baby-sitting. They pay you an infintessimal amount of money to go into a classroom and make students scribble on worksheets. Most don’t giver half a fuck about doing the work, much less act like there’s even a teacher in the room at all. I’ve questioned my sanity on multiple occasions throughout the process. But there are some students that you really break through with. One such student I made a connection with is named Ashley.

I wasn’t there today, on the last day of school, because they didn’t need a sub. But my wife works full time as a teacher in the same school I normally sub at. I sent her the following email this morning. Following, our conversation:

ME: Tell that 8th grade girl I told you about to stay focused on her goals and not to let any of the many idiots in these schools mess up her life. She’s the one I pointed out to you in he cafeteria. Her name is Ashley _____. PLEASE do that for me. You can easily find Ashley. Is it bad form for me to tell her that or something? I just don’t want her to end up another young pregnant girl that has to let go of everything she dreamed of because some idiot kid got into her pants.

MY LOVING WIFE: No, it’s fine to tell her that. I’ll go over there at 11:40 and try to talk to her, I just have to find her homeroom. I think it is good to tell specific children personal messages. They appreciate it.

45 MINUTES LATER: 

I told Ashley _____ what you said. I told her “Mr. Daniels said I had to find you and tell you to stay focused on your goals and not to let any of  the fools and idiots at school mess up your life. She said, “Mr. Daniels? The sub?” I said “yes, he is my husband, and he wanted me to make sure you got that message.” She said, “Oh my gosh!” over and over and started crying. I told her good luck, and she just nodded and tried to regain control.

All I can say about that is wow.

I can’t tell you how much this means to me. This, to me, is what teaching should be all about. Maybe I affected a young (age 14) girl’s life for the positive. Maybe she will remember the tattooed, dreadlocked substitute teacher looking out for her, singling her out as some thing special (and she is). I’ve been high on that all day. I only wish I could have told her in person.

We’ll have to see what happens. Maybe a job will open up over the summer for the fall. In the meantime, the writing continues.

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