A Day of Thanks

It has been a hot second since I have been on here, and that is all for good reason. I started substitute teaching for the biggest school district in Tennessee. It is also the most under funded school district it seems like. When I went to orientation for this they told us that 78% of the children pre-k through 12th grade were considered to have a learning disability. My mind was blown.

I have worked now off and on for two weeks. The first week I only worked two days. I had high school and elementary school. High school I didn’t really know what I was getting into. It is a school that is closest to us in mileage so I took it. I didn’t know that it was one of the worst schools in the district going in. I had freshman mostly with a few sophomores mixed in. Some of the freshmen still acted as if they were still in middle school, but they weren’t too bad for me. One class in particular stuck out to me.

The class that stuck out to me was the honors English class I had. One kid was leading a pretty in-depth conversation. He was talking about how because they are a predominately lower class school they were expected to become drug dealers, to use drugs, or just not do anything with their lives. Their mission was to break the cycle. They had dreams. They also got off on the subject of kids coming out of the closet, and that they knew people that wouldn’t because they needed their parents who they knew wouldn’t accept them anymore if they did “come out of the closet.”  The conversation ended with the same guy talking about how he was working on his relationship with his mother. She wanted him to become a doctor or a lawyer, but that wasn’t what he wanted to be. He had been working on putting together YouTube videos since he was 12 to build a portfolio for when he graduated to do something in that area. I was blown away by their conversation. There is adults that can’t carry on conversations and talk about topics like they were in an orderly manner even when some of them didn’t agree with the opinions they had.

The next day I got to go to an elementary school. When I was in elementary school we had less than 100 kids total in the entire school Kindergarten through 5th grade. This school had 60+ kids per grade that went there. This was also my first time having an aid in the classroom with me while subbing. This was the day that I learned that aids can be a great thing for a sub or they could be a subs worse nightmare. Elementary kids are cool because they still like to do their work. There maybe one kid out of twenty that doesn’t want to do their work, but hey there’s always one in every crowd. Until you get an aid in the classroom that is just as wild if not wilder than the children in the class. Not only are you having to take care of the children, but you are having to take care of the adult that is acting worse than the children. Thankfully that aid didn’t last that long in the class, and a new one came in.

I had an eye opening experience at this school too. I had a dad bring in cupcakes for his little girl. I asked her if it was her birthday, and she responded no. She then proceeded to tell me that he does things like this from time to time because he will be gone to rehab for a couple weeks ever so often, and it’s his way of making up for it. She was in the 4th grade. I realized that day that I still lived under a rock for the most part in my sheltered world. This wouldn’t be the first time this got pointed out to me.

The next week I ended up working 4 days. 4 days for an 8 month pregnant lady is a lot of work. Shout out to you ladies that work up until you deliver. You’re the real MVP. That Tuesday I was with high school again. It was by far the easiest I had and would have. I got lucky, and got one of my friend that used to work at the school his old classes. When I told them I was friends with him they were ready to bow down to me because they thought I could get him to come back and teach them. Sadly he isn’t coming back to them, and they have to deal with the teacher that they all loathe.

Wednesday I was at the middle school that fed into the high school I was at the previous day. I didn’t exactly know what class I had signed up for, but I quickly realized it was going to be a challenge. I had the special needs class. Luckily I didn’t have them by myself. There were two other people in their with me. If you know anyone that teaches special needs kids or helps out with them give them a hug, a high five, a shout-out, or something because they really are a gift from God. There are no words to explain how you handle almost 10 kids at one time that do not have the same disabilities. Structure is definitely key when it comes to teaching them, but with them the day is never the same. Needless to say I was mentally exhausted after being with them all day, and I didn’t even do a whole lot in my book.

Thursday and Friday I was a lot closer to home. I was also in middle school. I was the same teacher two days in a row, and I thought I knew what I was getting into. Middle school kids are the definition of cray cray, and also the definition of can’t listen. I learned that this school was in the bottom 5 of the district. The children were very interested in me being pregnant, and I even had one child ask me how I got pregnant. That question caused a very stern reaction from me when I said I wasn’t discussing that with her. I had one rule for them, and that was to go easy on the cussing. I got told that everyone cusses these days, and if you didn’t you weren’t from the 21st Century. I guess this meant I wasn’t from the 21st Century. These children worked my nerves. They couldn’t keep their hands to themselves, and some of them actually acted like animals – I wish I was kidding. They also liked to skip class. I ended up with a lot of extra children because they wanted to come hangout in my class instead of going to the class that they were supposed to be in.

Progress reports also went out while I was there. I didn’t know it was possible for someone to score less than a 30 in a subject until I saw some of these reports where it had less than a 10 in some classes. With being 8 months pregnant, and this being middle school I couldn’t just leave them and go to the bathroom. There has to be someone in the class at all times. I would have to wait for an admin to come to the classroom so I could go to the bathroom. They were more than understanding when it came to my bathroom breaks. When I left there I apologized for how crazy the kids were, and I was told that I actually had the most control over them then the other people that had subbed for them. If they were “good” for me I would hate to see how much worse it could get.

While I had been trying to get as many jobs I could get, I forgot that my immune system was not prepared for children. Especially children that want to touch you all the time, that always have a runny nose, that sneeze on you, or cough on you without even thinking twice about it. I started to feel a little bad so I started taking over the counter items that I can take due to pregnancy. You are limited in what you can take when you are pregnant, and a lot of things they offer over the counter do not work for me at all. I thought I could fight it with shoveling OTC’s into my system, but that was wishful thinking.

I was hanging on pretty good until Saturday hit, and I lost my voice. It randomly hit out of nowhere. I already had the runny nose, a sore throat, and a little cough. I knew what was coming next, a full blown sinus infection. Monday of this week I broke down and went to the Dr to get antibiotics which is the only thing that will ever help. I was told previously by the baby Dr that while in your third trimester your immune system goes down for yourself, but it takes care of your baby because that is it’s first priority. It took forever for me to get some drugs that would work for pregnancy and also not interact with my seizures.

The antibiotics are finally starting to knock out the snot, but not doing a whole lot for my voice and my cough I still have. I have finally cut back on the amount of tissues I am using. I did try Robitussin last night to see if that would help with the cough – it took my entire voice away. At maximum volume for me it was barely a whisper you could hear when I was talking, and I don’t whisper! I decided to not go that route, and hopefully between hot tea and cough drops the voice and cough will get better.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I have had two weeks to be ultra thankful for all the good that I have in my life. These last two weeks have also brought about some eye-opening experiences as well as a lot of prayers for children that I probably will never see again. I hope that some of these children do find their own path and march to the beat of their own drum instead of following in the steps of those before them. Little man has also made his presence more known this week, and is starting to get super active where you can see it if I am just sitting down. It really does look like an alien is in my stomach! I hope you guys got to enjoy some time with your loved ones, and put your “Thanksgiving pants” on and feasted like Kings and Queens!! Until next time 🙂