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.