Substitute Teaching: English (OJHS 3.3)

Today is the last day at Orem Junior unless they call for another day. Today was nice (in fact fantastic) except for second period.

Second period has forty five kids in it. They also think they have power. Here is the basic situation: I am subbing for Mr. Wilson who is gone to a funeral who in turn is doing a long-term substitution for Ms. Holman who has cancer. I am the sub of a sub and thus the weakest kind of sub possible (the kids think). That came to light today. My answer: Pop Quiz.

Explosion & Revolt.

I wrote the To Kill a Mockingbird questions on the board and told them I would be emailing their scores to Ms. Holman direct. Four kids refused. They insist I’m bluffing. The quiz over and we graded it together and then had a discussion. The four kids then started really acting out forming up a drum-line and be-boxing rap-tunes.

Right then, the flex slips show up. I hand them out to the class except to the four. “You can’t do that!” I let them know I didn’t care and that they would have to stay with me for flex. Flex is a mini-class where kids with passing grades go do fun activities like watch movies. The kids with less than passing grades go to an intervention course and do homework. All four of these kids are in a program called Claw, where they meet daily with a school disciplinarian and often a cop to go over their grades and behavior. Most of the kids in Claw have court orders to attend. If they are late for any reason, the school cop hunts them down.

I kept their flex slips.

When it was time to release for flex, I let everyone go and told the four that needed to stay and clean the classroom. They said they wouldn’t and one just walked out. I said fine and started helping the kids who came to my class for flex. I told the kids just walking in to get old homework out or read the novel, but to stay quiet. All the kids coming in were very interested in the four rebels. As time was running out, the three rebels in the class started cleaning. The one who left came back in and said the cop in Claw said he was tardy if he didn’t have his slip. I told him he better start cleaning.

He refused.

The others did what I wanted and ran off barely making it to Claw. The other kid was mad. “I didn’t make the mess,” he said. “I know,” I replied. “I think you are right. That isn’t the issue. You were disrespectful to me. Not messy. If you need to go you better start cleaning.” I then turned away and let him sit. After five minutes of stewing, he started working. Eventually, I let him leave with his slip.

The cop stopped by during lunch. He was glad I stuck to my guns. He said these four had been pushing Mr. Wilson around terribly and often other subs. The boy in question was going to go back to court for other behavior issues and this was just going to be added to the stack of charges against him. The cop said he’s probably going back to jail.


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