It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single young man, between the ages of 4 and 14, in possession of a good fortune, must be into singing Justin Beiber songs.
Or so I’ve learned over the last four days, when I have been in a preschool (on Friday) and a middle school (today) and both times have been faced with boys singing “Baby” and “Never Say Never.” This is surprising to me because in my world, Justin Beiber is low on the radar: I don’t really hear his music on the stations I listen to, and I don’t really pay attention to him except when he pops up in front of my face somewhere. In my head he’s like an 8-year-old boy, even though I know in real life he’s like 16 and probably doing all kinds of things with girls (yuck). In my world we don’t really acknowledge Justin Beiber, and we would probably make fun of anyone singing his songs (even though we might get them stuck in our heads sometimes, because they’re adorably catchy, but not in a way that makes them art, or anything).
On Friday this little boy was singing “Baby” while we were walking them over to breakfast, and I thought that was cute. It was a little weird, but I thought, Eh, he’s four years old. The rowdy 12-year-old this morning was a different story – I kind of wanted to ask if it was cool of him to be singing those songs. But whatever.
Other than (and even including) Beiber, the preschoolers were cute. Here are some stand out moments from the day:
-This little girl (we’ll call her “M”) deciding we were besties, and spending most of the morning cutting out paper hearts for me.
-M holding my hand while walking back from breakfast, and then pointing at this other little girl (who, unfortunately, had flaky skin all over her face and hands, and looked like she needed to be bathed in cortizone-10 or something), and saying
M: Her says bad words.
Me: Does she?
Flaky girl: *looks up at me with big brown eyes* My mommy teaches them to me.
-This super cute little round-faced boy with big nerdy glasses goes, “Everyone says I look like Denzel Washington.” (I’m thinking, “Not likely.”)
Me: What’s your name?
-All the kids were dancing to some song where you put your beanbag on your head and dance around! on your shoulder and dance around! on your elbow and dance around! etc. And this one kid was sitting at the table all slumpy, and I said, “Don’t you want to dance?” and he said, “I wanted to dance, but this song is driving me CRAZY.” Touché, kid, me too.
-The most memorable thing for me about the day (as of right now) is that they got me SICK. Which I guess I kind of expected, everyone told me it’s a job hazard, whatever. On Saturday my throat started hurting and then it’s kind of devolved from there. I think it’s a sinus thing now. On Sunday morning I used cough syrup to swallow cough pills. I’m hitting this thing hard.
I even ran around with them at recess, playing tag and hide and seek. The next day I questioned whether getting that involved was the right choice: sure it’s good if you’re a babysitter, but should a teacher be playing like that? I’m not sure which way I lean on this. The older teachers didn’t play, but the younger ones seemed more willing. So maybe I’m just right in the middle. A friend of mine (who has a 4-year-old) says playing with kids is always good, because you’re fostering the right things in them, so I should never be concerned about that.
After my day with the little kids I kept thinking, High school can’t be harder than this. But I forgot to account for middle schoolers, the Grendel of the education system. I was at a middle school today and these are the lessons I learned:
-Middle schoolers are bitches.
-Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Just be strict from the very beginning. And through the middle. And then at the end.
-Don’t trust them. They don’t really have to go to the bathroom. They’re just going to wander around for 15 minutes and then come back and claim they had “a problem.”
I have to give them a little break, because in two of the Social Studies classes we watched a video on the Silk Road. It was exactly what you’d expect from an oldschool video that a sub would show; and bonus points on the references to the USSR! I felt bad that they were supposed to take notes, because even I wasn’t sure what I’d write down, but when one of the kids started complaining super loudly I was like, “This is my second time watching it, how do you think I feel?”
The best teacher today was the young Chinese woman who ruled that class with an iron fist. They called her evil; I called her magnificent.
But I figured out why HR said that a lot of subs don’t want to go to the preschool: it’s 7:00-3:00: 8 hours, minus lunch. But I was only at the middle school from 8:30 to 2:30: 6 hours minus lunch! Sweet! Still, middle schoolers suck.
However, I had a really good time both days, and I am making great strides in learning. Just trying to keep track of everything I’m learning. I’m in two high schools this week and then on Friday I get a break (unless I get a call). Life hasn’t been boring lately, that’s for sure.