The substitute’s rule of wisdom states that the day before a major holiday or the start of summer vacation is generally an assignment to be avoided if you can’t handle amped up kids. The two most likely problematic assignments are the Fridays before Christmas and Halloween night. The job is then less about the 3R’s and more about crowd control for the day.
So this Friday before Halloween, the teacher’s note on the system said that they would be having an in-class party and a school costume parade about an hour before dismissal. The teacher’s note also suggested that I could come in costume if I wanted to join in. Since I hadn’t worked this week and the assignment was for only the last half of the day, I went in. My only concession to a costume was wearing my SF Giants baseball cap.
The 5th grade class was in full party mode when I arrived to meet with the teacher I would be working for. The teacher said there was no lesson plan since I wouldn’t be teaching anything. I was not surprised. My job today, as explained by the teacher, was to be the properly credentialed teacher required to supervise as legally required. The class “party moms” would handle everything.
One the reasons I took this assignment was that this school has a high parent participation rate and this class proved to be no exception. Six “party moms” were directing Halloween crafts involving Graham crackers, chocolate, and candy corn art. They handled the pizza party lunch and games. All were dressed in costume and in full control. There was really nothing for me to do but “monitor” all day.
When some of the kids asked where my costume was, I put on my Giants cap and told them I was the superhero who radiated an invisible force field in front of me that deflects all thrown objects. I’m called WALKMAN!
Fortunately most of these kids HAD watched last night’s MLB World Series game against the Rangers and “got” the joke.