Sunday, October 21, 2007


My assistant quit. He had only been there for a week. He said he couldn't handle the kids.

There were other factors, of course, the pay is incredibly low for an assistant position and there isn't much gratification, I don't think. But what made him quit was the kids.

I was out on Tuesday and I had my assistant in the classroom with the sub. He was supposed to give the kids their assignment for the day. They knew him, and he knew what was going on so it was a much better situation than them just being alone with a substitute.

Well, the kids behaved like jerks. Not extraordinarily so. No one threatened his life. No one swore at him. But they were mean. They mocked him and would repeat everything he said in sort of a high, comical voice. He told me this later, and the kids admitted to doing it. They were listening to music too, and wouldn't turn it off when he asked them to. "No matter how loud I yelled, they wouldn't stop." but I could have told him that.

In fact, I did tell him that. The day before he admitted to me how impressed he was with my patience. "I can't believe you can deal with them like that." he said, referring to my 6th period class "If I were you I would go drill sergeant on 'em." It sounded like a compliment, but I suspect it was really a critique and maybe a suggestion. I tried to explain to him that that method wouldn't work on these kids. "They don't really respond well to that." I told him "and I couldn't even pull it off if I tried. I just try and let them know that I care about them and that seems to work the best." But I guess he went with his method on the day that I was out.

"He just kept yelling at us" Delisa said the next morning when I asked the class what had happened. "Yeah, and he wasn't even listening to us!" said Traver. They giggled when I told them he had quit. I know what they were thinking. About how weak he was, about how they hadn't even tried their hardest and they had already gotten rid of him, about how easy it was. But I think they were also sad. They didn't have any attachment to this guy necessarily, they had only known him for a week, but I think they felt abandoned.

Part of the security in being a kid is that you know that no matter how terrible you are, someone is always going to be there to love you. No matter how many detentions you get or how many times you scream "I hate you!" at your parents, they are still going to be your parents. But that isn't the truth for many of these kids. Hardly any of them have a father that participates in their lives and only a few know who their father is. Some of them are in foster care and a lot of them live with relatives instead of their parents. Plus the turnover rate for teachers is so high that they are very aware that people don't want to teach them. I think it hurt them that this guy quit after they had misbehaved.

It hurt me a little bit too.


Blogger luxa pax said...

I just want you to know something. I am aware that you may not read my comment. You probably will never know who I am, but what you are doing is worth something and I admire you for trying so hard, despite nearly insurmountable odds to reach these kids. Your selflessness is exactly what I aspire to. You are my hero.

11:22 PM  
Blogger luxa pax said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:22 PM  

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