Today, I had my first assignment as a substitute teacher! I subbed for an 8th grade Social Studies class, and let me tell you…a LOT has changed since I left middle school. Granted that was 10 years ago (what?!), and I was in a bubble with about 15 other nerds in an advanced program. Either I was may more naïve than I realized (probably the case), or kids are exponentially more mature these days. Or perhaps they aren’t more mature, they’re just discussing MUCH more mature subject matter. I didn’t even know about some of the stuff they were talking about today, and I’m almost twice their age!
Figured I’d review some memories of the day, so I’ll never forget my first day of subbing. 🙂
1) Without fail, every class spent several minutes pestering me about how old I was and trying to guess my age. “You’re married?! How old are you??”, “Are you even old enough to be our teacher?”, etc. I generally just pushed off the questions with, “I’m old enough to be your substitute. Work on your assignment!” However, one class kept pushing and were shouting out what they thought my age was. Then the following conversation occurred:
Class: “21? 24? 26? 22?”
Boy: “My mom’s 26!”
Me: “Aren’t you 13 years old?”
Boy: “Oh! I mean my lesbian mom!”
Me: “So not your birth mother?”
Boy: “Nope! My birth mother’s 40! Her partner is 26 though! I actually have 3 moms! My dad’s girlfriend is 32!”
Me: “Okay class, this has nothing to do with the Constitution. Back on task, please.”
I thought kids had learned how to filter what comes out of their mouths by middle school, but I guess not.
2) No matter how many times I reminded everyone of my name, all anyone ever called me was ‘Miss.’ “Hey Miss, can you help me?” “Miss, how your hair so long?” (I never knew how to answer that…because it grew?) “Miss, can I go to the bathroom?” My last name is one syllable. It’s not like it’s difficult to pronounce. Has this always been a thing? I always remember utilizing my teachers’ last names growing up. And what do they call their male teachers/subs? Sir? Mister? Man? Very odd.
3) In 3rd period, the school had the morning announcements over the intercom. About 20 minutes after the announcements, I heard a beep over the intercom, and then someone said, “Excuse me.” I assumed someone had accidentally leaned on the button in the front office and wittily replied, “You’re excused,” thinking no one could hear me but the students. Moments later, the intercom replied, “Umm, I’m sorry. If Theresa is in this classroom please send her to the office.” The students then explained to me that the front office can intercom into any individual classroom to request a student to come to the office. Hopefully they just thought it was a kid being a smart aleck and not the substitute? Oops.
4) You’d think since the students thought I was so young, they would realize that it hasn’t been THAT long since I’ve been out of school. Each class presented a new way of trying to trick me including the following:
- While trying to explain what it would be like for them to be in a foreign or unfamiliar place, I used the example of them being in China. One boy quickly replied, “Well I was born in China, Miss!” I instantly asked, “Oh how interesting! In what city?” He immediately blushed and stopped talking as his classmates giggled. SHUT DOWN.
- Trying to creatively stack and prop open books and notebooks to hide their cell phones from my view.
- Acting like they were working on their assignment when they were really staring at their phone in their lap. Do they not realize how obvious it is when they stare at their crotch for 15 minutes without looking up?
- “Miss, he lets us use our phones in class!” Oh really? Then why does that huge sign on the wall say “PHONES SHOULD BE OFF AND OUT OF SIGHT” in bold, red letters?
Nice try kids, but you’ve gotta wake up PRETTY early to fool this girl. Lord, listen to me. I do sound old…maybe I’m not as young and hip as I think I am.
Anyway, all this to say, it was a long, interesting, eye-opening day. Perhaps next time I’ll try to get an assignment at an elementary school…they don’t have cell phones yet, right?