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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Ain’t Gonna Do THAT Again!

This first week back after the winter break started calm enough. I had a two day assignment in 5th grade at the “Country Club” school near the house. Great class, very organized plans, great kids.

Then the call cane this morning at Oh-Five-Dark-Thirty for a Spec-Ed class at the middle school down the road. I hung up and went back to sleep. They called back at 06:30 for the same class. Being more awake, I took the assignment figuring that it shouldn’t be that bad on this “minimum day Thursday”. Even if I did get a stinker or two in class, I only have to endure it for that particular 40min period.

My first disappointment came upon arriving at the school for check in to be told that they “don’t do minimum day Thursdays” at the middle school level.

The second disappointment came when I got the attendance sheets for all five periods and saw all the same names listed for ALL five periods. Still, trying to be optimistic, I recalled my experience at the elementary school with SPEC-Ed  and hoped for the same.

Arriving at the classroom I couldn’t seem to find any kind of lesson plan. Oh-Oh!

The office called before the first bell with news that the teacher had emailed the lesson plan and they would get it to me shortly. Well that should be fine since the class aide would know how the day starts and could direct me in what should be done until the lesson plan arrived.

Fortunately the plan arrived before the first bell and I had just enough time read that the aide for this class doesn’t show up until 30mins after school starts. Whew! That was a close call. No plan, no aide… disaster avoided!

How did my day go from there? Not really great. The leader of the pack, “She-Wolf”, is a 14yr old girl taller and heavier that me. Her attitude was that she could sit anywhere, do anything, SAY anything, slap her “friends” and be a general pain in the ass without consequences.

The aide wasn’t reacting except to instruct “She-Wolf” to stop it. In a NORMAL class, I would have called down to have her removed immediately for this behavior, but it IS Special-Ed. The aide, now in class and running some of the assignments didn’t seemed phased by the activity so I went with the plan until between periods.

It was then I approached the aide to ask if this was normal and expected behavior for “this class” or could I write a detention slip and eject “She-Wolf” in the hope that the rest of the class might settle down.

“She-Wolf” must have overheard because she shouts out: “YEA! I WANNA GO OFFICE!”

I guess the aide was waiting for me to take the lead because she immediately agreed and made the call while I wrote the detention slip. The principal arrived, instructed “She-Wolf” to pack up. As she was leaving, WannaBeGangster, sitting in front must have made some kind of snide comment I didn’t hear because the principle turned on him, pointed and said: “You! Pack it up and come with me”.

I like this guy…

With those two gone, the rest of the day was still difficult but much better than before. I’m glad it’s over and I won’t be accepting any more late morning calls for SPEC-ED/Middle School in the near future.


chrissyrudd said...

Yep, try high schoolers, with spit wads, rubber bands, and computer access, where the excuse is, "Our teacher lets us do this all the time!"

Do I look like your teacher? Are you in 3rd grade? Because I thought I signed up to teach more mature people...

BatGirl said...

Middle School is the worst. I had ELA with 7th graders (double periods- so each group 2 hours). NOT SPED (I did SPED at this school and it was an ok day). They stabbed each other, threw things at ME and each other and tipped over desks. What made it even worse is that when I called for help NO ONE CAME. And you can't let them out of class or they hop the fence and leave.

I will never go back. Never.

Liz A. said...

Everybody seems to have had a winter break but me. Sniff.

Some SpEd aides take more control of the class. Some sit back and let the teacher do it. Sometimes it's hard to tell what kind of aide you have to start with.

And the aide starting 30 min later--that seems to be normal, at least, that's what I usually see.

Sorry your day was so bad. I've been there. Once I had a girl (8th grader) who sucked on a binky in class and was appalled that I asked her to stop. And the rest of the class...

Karen Greenberg said...

I wish there were more principals like that one, it sounds!

Anonymous said...

I had to have a 1st grader removed from the room after he ran around trying to stab students and screamed he was going to kill everyone. The principal was handling another issue so someone else was sent in, but by the time the back-up arrived, my little ray of sunshine decided to sit like an angel in his chair and make me look like a loon for calling down to the office. The person came in the room and looked at me like "really? You called me to take this little angel?" Grrrr.

Sounds like you handled yourself very well, though. Congrats on your survival! :) You deserve some much earned time in another well behaved "country club" class.

The Best Blog Ever said...

I enjoyed reading this blog. :) I am preparing to student teach soon as an intervention specialist and can relate to many interesting stories passed to me through friends in similar teaching situations. Gaining control of the overall management of the class AND feeling adequately prepared for a lesson that you yourself have not prepared, but rather was prepared by another teacher has GOT to difficult. Good luck with your future challenges. I've begun to brace myself for mine :)

Boffa said...

I hate to to a one-upper, but my high school catfight story tops that:

Tad Jackson said...

Mr. P,

Great stuff! I used to sub, too, and I think you'll really enjoy reading about it at

Teach on!

Tad Jackson

Emily said...

I really enjoy reading about your adventures as a sub! I teach part time and sub part time, and can relate to many of these experiences! I always avoid Spec-Ed too.