30 in 30 - Day 4 - How I Came Up WIth the Name "Justateacher"
I'm Just A Teacher
Just A Teacher
“Hey, look! It’s just a teacher!” I was surprised by the chorus of voices from the classroom.
This was my favorite class to be a substitute teacher in. I had only been subbing for about three months – I had received my teaching degree the previous December and it was early March. I only subbed in the small district my daughters attended. There were, at that time, just four elementary schools. That made it easy to get to know the teachers, students and administrators. I was having a great time, and I loved coming to this class.
My first day in that class, I wasn’t sure that I would ever want to return. The kids were noisy, rude and knew all the tricks to play on a new sub. They had me take them out to recess a full ten minutes before they were supposed to. I was hit by a barrage of spit balls when I turned my back. I was called every name in the book, only to find perfect little angels when I turned back around. As a group, they were the most horrible students I had ever seen.
Then I caught on. They liked to play. They just wanted to have fun. So, I decided to have some fun with them. When they came in from lunch, they each had a packet of thirty pages of algebra on their desks. Did I mention that this was a fourth grade classroom? They all stared at the packets, notes of disbelief on their faces. I looked at them and told them they had thirty minutes to finish it all. I heard nothing but groans. I sat a timer on my desk and told them they better hurry. It was funny to see twenty-five heads immediately turn to the work on their desk. The looks of pure confusion made me laugh out loud. Twenty-five heads bobbed back up.
“It’s not funny! This is hard! We haven’t learned this yet!!” One boy in the back of the room – the ringleader of the spit ball incident – shouted.
“I’ll make you a deal. If we can get the work done that your teacher left, we won’t have to do this packet. And if you get it done in time, we can play a game.”
The students agreed that they would do the work. And work they did. They were all working quietly when the principal popped his head into the classroom. He called me out into the hall to make sure everything was going okay. I assured him that everything was fine. I was only out of the room for a minute or two, but I was pretty sure that the students would be up to some mischief.
As I entered the classroom, there was a mad scramble as everyone rushed back to their seats. The ringleader yelled, “Oh – Don’t worry! It’s just a teacher!” Then he went back to work.
The next time I came to that classroom, I was greeted by the entire class shouting, “Hey – it’s Just a Teacher!” They all laughed and they all worked hard from that point on. From that point on, I have used “justateacher” as a screen name…