The weather in Southern California is mostly warm and mild, but even on the hottest day, the climate in the classroom can be mighty cold. Some days, the mean streets of L.A. seem to be right there in class with you. They tear at your heart and just when you wonder if it is possible to have your spirits sink any lower a miracle occurs. Suddenly your students don’t seem like the hateful, demon-spawn they were a minute ago and you are able to get through the day. I know. It happened to me.
I was subbing in the hood. The regular teacher had left me clear instructions, and it looked like an easy day. I was instructed to tell the students that their test had been postponed for a day (because the regular teacher was absent); and I was to give the class a textbook assignment she had prepared in its place.
I figured the kids would be happy that they wouldn’t have to take a test even if it was postponed for only one day (sort of a good news, bad news kind of thing). So I said, “I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is…” But I didn’t get any farther.
As soon as I said, “The good news is…” Some wise-ass in the back of the room shouted out, “You’re leaving!”
The class grew quiet. I put on the most downcast, hangdog, woebegone expression I could and I played it for all I was worth. I moaned, “Why would somebody want to hurt my feelings? I know I may not be as good as your regular teacher but I am trying to do the best I can.”
And then the miracle happened. The whole class turned around in their seats and began shouting, “Apologize! Apologize!” at the wise-ass in the back. So he apologized.
Who would imagine a room full of teenagers could be so sweet and protective to an unfamiliar substitute teacher? See… Miracles do happen in the classroom!