Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Not "Working" ?!

I've been so busy and yet it's not because I'm substitute teaching. I officially retired in April - an end to my almost 8 year saga.  After the wedding for Janna last December, and through the holidays, and into the new year I was sick.  I hadn't worked in a while because of it all.  It was hard for me to get back out there.  I started to get this feeling that I was done with subbing in spite of plenty of opportunities to work.  It was more of a struggle for some reason. I felt a little disconnected from it all.

Substitutes got a great pay increase in our school district, but it didn't matter.  My reasons for working had passed even though I would have been happy to have some extra money. I soon realized I was done in spite of all the good reasons I could think to keep working. I have moved on and definitely filled my time with other things.

I share one last substitute story as I close this chapter of my life. There was a little Hispanic boy I had been servicing for some time. I repeatedly substituted for his Resource teacher.  He liked me to say it mildly.  He told me that he bet his grandma and I would be great friends if we knew each other.

School can be difficult and even more so for someone who is big for their age, has an unsightly birthmark on their face, a Spanish accent, and sent to Resource throughout the day.  He had challenges more than most. He never talked about his mother.  It was always grandma and his dad. He was quite a delight in spite of all his struggles.  I wish he knew that. He had such great potential, but like all of us it is hard to see our way clear when we are down.

Sometimes he would lean his head on my shoulder while I was helping him.  When he would see me out on campus other than the classroom he would run and grab my hand to walk with me.  If he hadn't seen me at school in a while, receiving a big hug from him as a greeting was no surprise.  I suppose none of that was "appropriate" when it comes to interacting with a student.  I don't push or pursue that kind of contact, but I certainly don't reject it.  He had a need and I made sure I was always loving and kind in my dealings with him

This experience is an example of those moments when you knew you were making a difference in the life of a child.  There is a lot I don't miss about subbing, but moments like this I will certainly miss. He was one of the reasons I didn't want to stop subbing.  I didn't want to leave him and many others, but it was time.

"Every child has a different
learning style and pace.
Each child is unique,
not only capable of learning
but also capable of succeeding."
-- Robert John Meehan

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