So, to supplement my retiree’s income, I substitute teach from time to time. Luckily, I can be a bit picky in choosing the jobs I want to take, and I only sub at the local school. I NEVER sub in kindergarten, (you have to be a special kind of crazy to tackle THAT job!), and steering clear of elementary kids in general. They’re a bit like spider monkeys on crack. Although, monkeys would be easier, I think.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to sub in the high school art class. This is generally a pretty laid back gig…..all the high school students have their individual projects to work on, so all I have to do is relay to them any particular instructions the teacher has left for them, and they usually just get down to work, with a couple of “ne’er do wells” always testing the waters of my resoluteness in keeping them on task. So, I figured, “easy day.” Wrong. I didn’t realize I was going to have fifth graders in the afternoon. Their teacher brings them over from the elementary school building, then leaves them. I was unprepared for what happened when she left. Incorrigible spider monkeys on crack……….with paint. That’s all that needs to be said.
I was asked back the next week, same high school class. The art teacher was fully aware of what had taken place previously with the fifth graders, so she was quick to tell me that I wouldn’t have that class today, but the fourth graders would be coming in. However, I was NOT to be fooled again, so when the teacher brought the class to the art room, I was ready for the monkey show! Before they were able to set foot in the classroom, I said, “Line up, drop your backpacks out here and do NOT enter that room until I say so, and NOT.ONE.WORD!” They walked into the room and I told them,” Don’t get your work and materials until I say so, and when you do, NOT. ONE. WORD! OK…..This side, get your work, your paint and brushes, then sit down, and NOT. ONE WORD!” These instructions were given three different times, the kids following them quietly each time I barked them out. After my last command, one little boy raised his hand and asked me, “Were you in the military?” My dad had been Air Force for thirty-six years so I figured that qualified me. “Yes!” I snapped, surveying the rest of the class with my stink eye, daring them to say anything. Then, one little girl stood up, approached me timidly, and said, “Thank you for your service.” Then, very solemnly, she SALUTED ME!! OK…..admittedly, I felt like a heel, BUT…….there was NOT.ONE.WORD!!!!