I’ll be the responsible one

“It’s subitis.” Huh?

“Subitis… what students do when they have a sub… Mr. Robinson, I have a headache. Mr. Robinson, I have a stomach ache. Mr. Robinson, I don’t feel good.” Yep. Got all that. “My sore hurts…” The sore looks like it’s two or three days old; in fact it’s pretty much healed.

“The nurse can give me an ice pack…” Sorry, buddy. I can’t see anything. Get a paper towel, soak it and rub it on your arm. That will help.

“I really don’t feel good. Can I go to the nurse?” Sorry, sweety. You don’t have a temperature. Put your head down and rest for a while.

She returns to her desk using her best “I really don’t feel good” or “I really am suffering” walk.

Funny… come recess time they all seem to be suddenly cured of whatever ails them.

Subitis. I’d been subbing for nearly three years and they finally told me its ‘clinical’ name?

Or did they make it up just for me? They did say it happens to all subs. They also know I’m a softy when it comes to kids. And of course, the kids know it, too.

My first year at Woodland I allowed nearly a third of my class to go to the nurse once. She (the nurse) was not a happy lady. I’ve managed to get it down to a dull roar since then.

“Try being mean.” I can’t do that. “No, I don’t mean “mean” mean… stern. Strict! How about strict? Think you can do that?”

I’ll try.

Third and fourth graders at East; fifth and sixth graders at South. That’s another story. They’ve been in the ‘system’ for a few years and most know they are there to learn. Have fun while they’re at it, but still learn. I’m still a softy. But, when I need to get control of a talkative class, I know all I have to do is yell once! I immediately have everyone’s attention. Probably including a few in the hall or the rooms nearby.

For the one or two who don’t get the message? They get a one-on-one discussion. The second time a dirty look and/or a promise they’re heading to the office… If necessary, strike three you’re out (of the class and heading to the office). So far I haven’t had to use strike three.

K-2 students have a pretty good idea they’re there to learn but sometimes it’s difficult to get a handle on how it works. “Fun” is more fun. My approach has always been “We’re going to have fun while we’re learning, aren’t we?” Without exception that introduction gets a rousing “yay” from the students. It also seems to make focus and concentration more difficult. The “fun” part sticks in their minds while the “learning” part seems to get lost somewhere.

I realize I have to do better. I have to be… uh… well… strict. No matter how much it might hurt. Why? Because this summer I’ll no longer just be “subbing” for a day. I’ll be tutoring little ones (and maybe a few older ones) in their challenge areas; mostly reading. I won’t be just trying to follow teacher lesson plans for a few hours.

I’ll be the one responsible for success. I am fully aware of the tremendous responsibility this entails. Parents, administrators, literary specialists, Friends of the Greenville Library and the Woodland PTA have put their trust in me to help kids who need help this summer. I’m already working and studying to learn the skills I need and earn that trust. Experts have graciously made themselves available anytime I need help.

Parents or guardians wishing more information can contact their child’s school, or once summer has arrived, the library.

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