Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Future's Biggest Nerd

I think I may have met the future's biggest nerd. I subbed at an elementary school in the library today. When the kids were checking out books one second grader was humming the Darth Vader theme from Star Wars. I said, "Sounds like someone just watched Star Wars!" and he said:

"Oh, I like singing. In fact my favorite thing to do on the playground is me and my friends pretend we are a barbershop quartet."

That poor kid. He looks totally normal, no glasses with tape, or pants pulled up to his chin, but come on, playing BARBERSHOP QUARTET ON THE PLAYGROUND? He's practically begging to get punched.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sheepdog and Coyote

I subbed in a fourth grade class with kids I've known for a few years now. There is a kid in that class named Paul*. He is one of my favorite kids in the world because he is so darn happy and likable, but when I sub in his class it's like we are in that old Bugs Bunny cartoon where the coyote and the sheepdog are pals until they punch the clock to go to work, and then they are mortal enemies for the work day, and then at the end of the day they are friends again and go out and do something together. I'm the sheepdog, Paul is the coyote. He comes into school, we are happy to see one another, then the bell rings and it's on. He is NEVER doing what he is supposed to be doing and he has the loudest voice in the world, so everyone always notices and then the other kids tell me and I'm expected to do something about it CONSTANTLY.

Last year his third grade class had a student teacher and she taught the whole day so my job was to sit by Paul and keep him on task. One day when she was talking to the class, he was at the pencil sharpener, sharpening his pencil. It was loud, and annoying and it went on and on and on. I was waiting for him to look at me so I could give him the evil eye and a quiet reprimand. He turned around after about five minutes of uninterrupted sharpening, and I looked in his hands and he didn't even have a pencil. I was so surprised I almost laughed out loud and I couldn't bring myself to say anything because I thought I would laugh in front of him which would be like the sheepdog rolling over and showing the coyote its throat.

So at the end of the day today Paul told me that I have to write a short note in his planner to tell his mom how he was in school. I told the brutal truth, Paul read it, smiled at me and said, "Have a great weekend, Mrs. Lindahl!" I love that kid.

In other subbing news, we played a game in the gym today called Sofa. Weird name, I don't know why it's named that. It's like a dodgeball free-for-all, played with seven to ten balls, with everyone gunning for everyone else, and if you get hit, you have to sit on the sidelines until the person who got you gets out. It's total chaos. I bet if it was studied by psychology and educational experts it would be found to be a TERRIBLE game that bruises fragile self-esteems, as well as little bodies, but the kids LOVE IT. I love it too because there is no other social context (that I have found) that allows you to chase after an eight year old, and when you corner him and he cowers, you fire a ball with all your strength at his head, and it's okay!
It makes me giddy!

*Not his real name.  His real name is Russel.*

*No it isn't.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

First Graders

I subbed in first grade today and they have all the cuteness of kindergarteners, but none of the bizarre volatility. I was pretty confident that nobody's back pockets were driving them to distraction, like the kindergarten girl yesterday. They are definitely weird, but in a funny entertaining way, not in an "oh my god, this kid is going to have a melt-down because of her back pockets" kind of way.

One girl told me she likes to chase the boys on the playground and then throw them into pretend jail. (been there, done that) She said when she catches them they scream. She said, "You wanna hear how they scream?" We were in the hallway at the time so I told her NOT to scream. She said, "Oh, I can do it with my mouth shut - like this:" And she screamed an ultra-sonic high pitched scream with her mouth shut. Surprisingly loud, but I must say, pretty entertaining.