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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Letter…

This has not been a good week for me. This blog entry will be presented in reverse order starting with a letter I received after class from one 5th grade girl.

Transcribed, verbatim, un-edited for grammar and spelling but parenthesis comments added for clarification.


“Dear Mr. Perry.

I am sorry for the behaveor of this class. I am not happy about the essay but the class does disurve it some with Mrs. K (the principal of the school) coming. I not proud of breaking the record (fastest ever class to get extra HOMEWORK) but I am happy that it was my class because in the beging it was ok because summer just ended but now there is no exuse it is getting out of control. I haven’t learned alot this year because it so loud and hard to hear the teacher. I understand if you never come back to subsitute but I am very happy you subsituted today because this class needs a strikt teacher. I just wanted to tell you to exuse my class but it is ok to be the meanest you can ever be! I am so sorry L (she had penciled in a frowny face). Wish me luck on my 500 or more essay.

your I guess Sub Student,

LP (name edited to initials)


-- 02:30 pm--

Principal gives a very intense lecture for the next 10 minutes. She has heard from other students and teachers in the school about the essay. She’s not impressed with the essay subject but asks me if I would object to changing it from a class wide assignment to just these seven boys. I agree.

She instructs the boys to write it down and tells them that the essay is not due on Monday as indicated, but due tomorrow morning. It’s also supposed to be delivered to her office where she promised to count each and every word.


One of the fearless lads says, “Can I have my GameBoy back now?”

I thought Mrs. “K” was going to pop a vein right then and there.

“You brought a WHAT to my school? Well, now it’s mine until your parents want to come pick it up!”

-- 02:17pm --

“Lost” behavior report is magically discovered at the bottom of the trash can.

Mrs. “K” scans the report and calls out seven boys to remain in class while the rest are excused from class to wait outside for the final bell.

-- 02:15 pm --

Principal visits the class. She apologizes to me. She launches into an awe inspiring lecture on classroom behavior, embarrassing the school. She demands to see the “behavior log”.

It seems that today’s log is missing from the clip board.

Mrs “K”. blows her top! She tells them that she and Mr. Perry are going to step outside for 2 minutes and that log had better be returned!

-- 02:00 pm

I have physically upset kids.

One girl asks to address the class. She pleads for everyone to be good. The boys are laughing at her. I quietly tell her, it isn’t working and it isn’t her fault. She abruptly bolts for the door and vomits on the black top. A second girl is crying hysterically. I send them both with an escort to the health office.

I call the principal, Mrs “K”, for help.

-- 01:40 pm

As the day goes on, the number of words for the essay rises.

300 – 325 – 350 – 375 – 400 – 450 – 500!

-- 12:30 pm --

Awarded the final “K” to “HOMEWORK”.

This is BEFORE their 12:45pm LUNCH TIME! This is a new record. The final K isn’t supposed to be reached until sometime near the end of the day.

So far, I’ve confiscated a “GameBoy” from one kid during a math assessment test, eight rulers that have had the metal straight edge removed to be made into metal wire sculpture, several comic books being used in a tug-o-war and one plastic dog pooh.

-- 10:40 am --


Several of the girls are outside the room starting their essays. I ask them if they are sure that’s necessary at this point in time. I remind them that the essay is only necessary if we get all the way to the final “K” and that they should go play instead.

Response: “Oh yea, we’re gonna get it. No doubt!”

-- 10:30 am --

We are up to “HOME----“ and we haven’t gotten to the first recess yet.

I list on the board:

Extra homework is a 300 word creative writing essay on: “If I Were a Super Hero, My Powers Would be…”

I give them until Monday to turn it in. The regular teacher should surely be back by then?

-- 08:25am --

Meet the kids. The kids tell me that I’m the third sub in a row this week.

No returning subs. Interesting.

Once again we start the day explaining about the “HOMEWORK” and let them know that achieving this goal will get them an extra essay assignment for homework.

So far, I’ve never actually had to issue it to a class. Got real close a few times, but the kids usually hold out.

One of the girls asks if she can keep the “behavior log” sheet for the day. She tells me all I have to do is tell her the names to add and the infraction. This is evidentially the usual practice in this class.

I’m thinking that this request doesn’t bode well.


Sub007 said...

Oh my goodness, what a stressful sounding day!

That letter would have almost broken me. I might even have considered copying it (and removing the name of who wrote it) and giving it to the teacher or principal. That poor girl.

I think you did the best you could with that class. I probably would have done the same, so try not to feel too bad about it.

Anonymous said...

What a class! I feel bad for that little girl who wrote the note - saying she hasn't learned much because it is always so noisy in her classroom. Sounds like the regular teacher needs to regain control of the class.

I really hate subbing after a sub - it's hard on the kids and difficult in many ways for me, as well.

Some classes are just nuts - and no amount of strictness as a sub seems to change that! Hope you had a much better class the next day.

Anonymous said...

GREAT IDEA! What an awful day, and I am glad to read that you had the support of the principal and your HOMEWORK was a lesson that stuck with the kids for years.
You may have not gotten to any lessons that day, but you taught them a lifelong lesson about respect and consequences. WELL DONE!