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Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Student end-of-year evaluation reports are in progress and I had just completed the last of four, half-day assignments in 1st grade. Even though the kids can clearly see the teacher through the window of the common central pod, it didn't seem to diminish the chaotic nature of unfocused 1st graders already checked out for the summer.

I had been home for about an hour after class when the principal of the school called. This is odd, since no principal has ever called me at home before. We have crossed paths and had casual conversations over the last ten years I've been subbing. He has been the principal at three different schools I have subbed.

Dr. B: Hi, Mark. I know you were in for Ms. J's 1st grade today. I need to ask if anything unusual happened today?
Me: I can't think of anything. Why?

Dr. B: One of the moms came in after school to report that her daughter told her: "The sub shoved me into my desk and hurt my arm!"

I am speechless for a couple seconds before I can respond. I can feel my heart beat faster. I am truly sucker-punch-shocked! My mind is racing as I try to process the events of the day to figure out where this might be coming from.

Me: What??  I have no idea why she would say that. It didn't happen! The kids were out of their desks a few times and the noise level was sometimes a bit chaotic but nothing like that happened. 

Dr. B: Mark, we have known each other for many years and this just didn't sound like something you'd do, but I had to call and ask. I'll do some further investigating and get back to you.
 Me: I definitely want to know what you find out. I've heard about situations like this spinning out of control with other subs and causing some serious problems. This is a serious deal, here.

Dr. B: I'll definitely call you tomorrow and let you know what I find.

As I relate the day's turn of events with Claudette, it only increases our anxiety levels. Questions along the lines of:  "Is this job worth it? Is it time to quit?" are debated and examined.  I guess it all comes down to what Dr. B comes back with. I can only wait out the rest of today and see what tomorrow brings.

The call comes mid-afternoon as promised.

Dr. B: I re-interviewed the girl with her mom. I asked it she knew the name of the substitute teacher that pushed her. She said "no". I then asked her if Mr. Perry was in the classroom yesterday. She said "yes". "Was it Mr. Perry who pushed you?" She said "No, it was the other sub"
I understand from the teacher that some of the 6th graders who didn't go on the class field trip were sent to your class to do busy work?

Me:  Two 6th grade boys and one girl came in for the rest of the day. The teacher and I discussed an idea to have them work as "tutors" and help with kids that needed help in class.

Dr. B: That's what I've been told also. I've got to do some additional work on this but I'm satisfied that you are not involved. So we're done, you are out of the equation. Have a good rest of the day.

Now that my blood pressure is back to normal, I guess I won't be quitting anytime soon. I will be seriously considering if I should restrict future assignments next year to 2nd grade and above.


Karen Greenberg said...

Wow! What a scary situation. I'm glad you got through it with the principal still on your side and your name cleared.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that had your blood pressure up for quite a while. Luckily you are in a school where they all know you and it didn't turn into an inquisition. So glad it all turned out ok. You never know what will come out of the mouths of our lovely children. Have a great summer!

Anonymous said...

Karen has left a new comment on your post "Accused...":

My husband is an elem. P.E. teacher and a girl told her mom that he said, "Work those asses". When he told me, I asked him what they were working on in "gym", lately. He went through the plan for that grade and they were learning "crunches", so we decided he must've said, "Work those abs" and the child was unfamiliar with that word, so she came up with one that was similar. It was a big "to do" for about 2 days. Still VERY hard on anyone being accused.