After subbing the first two full weeks of the new school year, this week came down to just this one assignment on the last day of the week. It started as just another typical 5th grade class of thirty kids.
The teacher had left one actual spelling test and a pile of typical “time killer” worksheets to fill the academic day. The kids were restless but not really out of hand. It was a little more talkative than I care for, but the threat of “extra homework” had its usual temporary calming affect.
If it weren’t for that single incident, this day would have passed unnoticed, unremembered and forgotten as soon as I drove from the parking lot at day end.
The “incident” was a worksheet that one boy brought to me about 30mins before the dismissal bell.
On the back of the worksheet was a hand written list containing the names of three boys and three girls in the class with the title:
I quietly called the worksheet owner (his name was on the front) over to the teacher’s desk and out of hearing range of the other kids.
I quietly asked if this worksheet was his. It was.
I asked him if he had written the list on the back. He had.
I asked him what this list was. He said it was a list of kids in class he didn’t like.
I was stunned. This boy is one of the smallest, skinniest and probably one of the smarter kids in this class…AND HE’S ONLY 10!!
I’m almost positive he didn’t actually mean anything by his use of the word “kill” but since he did use it, I can’t ignore it. With all the post-Columbine incidents involving kids and violence in schools I couldn’t take the chance even if it’s a small one.
I quietly said: “You know I have to show this to your teacher, don’t you?”
He just nodded and started tearing up. I quietly told him to return to his desk and he spent the rest of the time, head down, quietly crying until the final bell.
After everyone left, I took “the list” to the principal and told her that this is something she needs to know about. After making a copy, she thanked me for bringing it to her attention and said she’d be contacting the parents that same afternoon.
I’m at a loss for words as how stunned I feel right now. I hope the list was just as he described: “kids in class he didn’t like” and nothing more.