Thursday, November 16, 2006
A Rabid Substitute
Judy was subbing for Ms. Williams (my partner math teacher) on Friday. Judy's a short, fat and smiley woman who everyone at school knows. She's best friends with a second grade teacher, so she's here every single day, whether she's subbing or not. I'm sure every school has a Judy. Or maybe every school doesn't...
Ten minutes before the bell rang, I lined Ms. Williams homeroom up at the door, in order to switch and get my kids back so they could pack up. As I leaned into room C209, I could hear a loud ruckus, and my kids were running around like animals. On top of that, Jewel was wailing while Emma laughed and pointed at her. To Jewel, an intelligent, normally mild-mannered girl, this was provocation to haul off and punch Emma in the arm. Needless to say, I was bewildered.
"Silence!" I screamed. The running and yelling ceased instantly, but Jewel's tears were still falling.
"What happened?!" I asked emphatically.
"Oh, it was nothing, Mr. Landry," replied Judy, "I was just playing and Jewel thought I bit her. But I didn't really bite her, she just thinks I did."
You can imagine my shock. "She thinks you bit her?" I asked.
"Yeah, but I was just playing." Judy replied.
At this moment, I wasn't quite sure what to do, so I just gathered my kids up, and sent Ms. Williams' kids into Judy's classroom. On her way into my class, I pulled Jewel aside and asked what happened.
"Ms. G (as the kids call her) was messin' around and she bit my arm," Jewel told me between sobs as she clutched her upper left arm. "I started crying, then the other kids was laughing at me, calling me a crybaby."
"Well it's ok now, Jewel, go pack your things up," was all I could muster in my extended state of bewilderment.
On Monday morning I stopped by my principal's office and relayed the story. She switched between laughter and shock, but I expressed in no uncertain terms that I didn't want this woman subbing fourth grade again. She assured me that she'd look into it.
Well, word spreads fast at an elementary school, and who did I run into on my way to class Tuesday morning? Judy.
"Mr. Landry, I just want you to know that I didn't bite Jewel," she explained.
"Well, that's not what Jewel told me," I replied in annoyance.
"No, no, no, she's just a sensitive girl. I was just messin' and she thought I bit her," she said, trying to convince me. "I just don't want you thinking bad things about me."
"Well," I replied, my annoyance beginning to compound, "I joke around with my kids a lot, but never once have I put my mouth on them. I don't think what happened was excusable."
"No, no, no, it's just a big misunderstanding. I just don't want you to think bad things about me," Judy replied.
"Ok," I said, walking away.
Unfortunately, this was not some piece of prose that I dreamt up last night, but true events. And, even more unfortunate is the fact that nothing will be done about it. The rabid substitute has been here all week, amidst the unlimited fodder of unsuspecting elementary school students.