It was a new day of classroom magic. They delivered the magic message to me within five minutes of entering the room, storing backpacks and taking seats. Those who were completing lessons on their laptops paraded around the room, asking for the location of the box of headphones while chatting with me.
Here’s some of the dialogue: No humor in the classroom; I’m a serious educator. If you don’t stop talking, I’ll put on my mean substitute face. Sit your bottoms on your seats unless you want to spend the rest of your lives in detention. No dancing in the classroom – I’m the only one who’s allowed to dance.
From the other side of the desk: You’re pretty funny. You’re savage. We have had substitutes who are totally evil. How many songs do you want me to sing? See – I’m hilarious too. What’s your favorite football team? Miss, you are scaring me. Are you sure you’re a teacher? You’re not our usual teacher. Can I draw? Will you be here tomorrow? How about the rest of the year?
When we take ourselves or our positions too seriously, everyone suffers. The students do if they need to worry that one false move results in punishment or that not finishing an assignment will incur criticism. Clearly, I lose because my educating becomes redundant and routine if I operated entirely according to the lesson plans.
Education never suffers. We still do our usual reading, writing and arithmetic. Mine is a gourmet seasoning to the traditional meat and potatoes learning. If the students have some fun, get to know an adult a bit better and learn in the process, what harm is done? Shalom.