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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reality Bites

Hi, remember me? I'm the one who spent last week avoiding reality, partying with my sister, and doing some wild road-tripping across the fruited plains (and mountains of ice) of the land known as Wash-Ida-ta.

Reality's returned, and it's such a letdown.

Unfortunately, in the days before my (thankfully FREE) trip, my husband joined the ranks of the unemployed. In the carpenters union, becoming unemployed is a normal thing. Staying that way for any length of time, however, is not necessarily so normal. Unfortunately, we have reason to believe this could be an extended situation.

Which makes me desperate. Desperate enough to subject myself to the sixth grade two days in a row. Do you have any idea how desperate this is?

As a sub, I am used to high school. And the kids who are in high school classes. Kids who can sit quietly for extended periods of time being productive, and contributing to the learning environment with little to no help from me. There are exceptions, of course, but in the last seven years I have had few problems with 9th-12th graders. I like them, they like me, we're like one big happy family.

Sixth grade, not so much. Don't get me wrong, I like them - individually. Collectively, they kind of drive me nuts. They cannot be quiet for more than a few minutes. They cannot be allowed to talk without it erupting into chaos. They need help with everything.

Subbing in sixth grade is like having a real job. This is not what I signed up for.

Here's an example: When dealing with sixth graders, you cannot simply tell the class to quiet down and expect it to be immediately effective. Instead, you get something like this:

Me: Hey! You guys need to quiet down and get back to work. (generally aimed at one specific group of kids)

Kid in group - Yeah, be quiet!

Kid a few seats down - Would you guys shut-up!

Kid a few more seats down - Geez! Could everyone just be quiet already?!?

Kid across the room - Hey! She said to be quiet! Can't you guys listen?

Me - (Slowly going insane as this rebounds all. around. the room.)

And this lovely chain-reaction is set off continually. My favorite ones are when you're dealing with the I-love-attention-and-being-class-clown-because-I'm-eleven-and-proud-of-my-obnoxiousness-and-don't-know-when-to-quit sixth grader, and you tell them to settle down after they've made their little buddy laugh. Instead of be-quiet's, you get it's-not-funny's accompanied by a room full of giggles.

Did I mention headaches? Because you get those too.

Under normal life circumstances, I politely decline these jobs, and wait for something better. (i.e., older) (The elementary secretary stopped calling me years ago, and I'm not desperate enough {yet} to re-open that door). With our current situation, however, I just need to work as many days a week as possible. If that means the sixth grade, so be it.

I just won't be getting any books read.

And I'll use up all my patience reserves on them, and my family will pay. But at least we'll have food, right? (It's important I keep these important details in mind. It makes future forays into grade six a tad easier to deal with) (Emphasis on the word tad).

And I can't blog at the middle school either, so we may not be seeing as much of each other for a while. Try to deal with it as best you can - I won't mock your tears. (I'll be crying my own).

PS - FYI, that little link up there will take you to my sister's photographic montage of our crazy week. So right after you leave me that comment (the one I desperately need for my morale), you should go check it out and see what kind of a nutcase I have for a sibling...

22 comments:

Chaka said...

As I recall 6th graders are a tough bunch because they think they are on top of the Elementary food chain. They usually get shell shocked and humbled once they get to Jr. High. (at least for a few weeks) Good luck.

Melissa Bastow said...

My sister CHOSE to teach 6th grade. Willingly. In fact, she may have demanded it. I don't know - whatever the circumstances, she's crazy. I will take my work from home and get nothing done job over teaching 11 year olds any day. I salute you, my insane 6th grade subbing friend. And I will cry if you're gone too long. Of course you know this...

Machen family said...

I'm feeling your pain. 6th-8th graders are insane. Have you tried stripping? I hear strippers make a lot of money.

jane said...

see, my oldest and might I mention perfect daughter is a 5th grader, 11 years old. I love her, but can totally relate to some obnoxious kids I have met her age in the passing this past year... good luck!!!

this economy is the total mood deflater, we've had a bombshell of bad news hit us this week, I'm sure looking forward to an upswing in the entire u.s. anyday now. I will say, Annie's pictures were hilarious! I totally envy what you two {and more of you} have as sisters!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh Jen, you poor thing. I am so sorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry. Reality does bite. See I told them so! My students that is. ;)

I am keeping my fingers crossed that your hub gets a job soon. I'm sending out positive vibes into the universe, using The Secret laws of attraction and all that.

And btw, you are so gorgeous. Who cares about money and food when you look like that?

catie said...

UGH, sixth graders are the worst. hands down. i worked at a boys & girls club to pay for college and i literally HATED every. single. sixth grader. they are the oldest in their school (at least they are here...) and they just all think they are hot stuff.

good luck with both the sixth graders and the husband. my boyfriend is also joining the ranks of the unemployed. recessions...

Barbaloot said...

I will definitely miss you---but hope it's not so crazy that you're gone forever.

Annie Valentine said...

Does this mean you don't want me to send you "Sable"?

LisAway said...

Rotten. I hope your husband does find something sooner than expected. In the meantime, you guys are smart that you have this option of you doing more work.

Maybe you should send vitamin packets out to all sixth grade teachers in the area. And maybe some tainted candy to 9-12 grade teachers. (not all of them, of course, just a few at a time)

Kellie said...

I used to sub in Texas and I hated it until one random day I woke up and foe some unexplainable reason, I loved it. I liked the junior high kids, but as I get older I think I'd like high school better. Sorry you had to do 6th grade 2 days in a row.

Shelley said...

Ok, so it sounds..well..stupid..but hang in there! My oldest is currently in the 6th grade. She is smart (currently reading at a post-high school level). The last two years she had well, not so good teachers and her grades started to fall. This year she has a wonderful 6th grade teacher. I am so grateful! Starting Junior High in the fall, I wanted her to still enjoy school and her teacher has done that. So really hang in there. There is always a parent like me that will be cheering you on from the sidelines!

Shelley said...

Ok, so I am back, went and looked at the photos. They are great!!!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I agree with Crash...you ARE so gorgeous...but I don't agree with the WHO needs money part...HELLO I understand that a girl has got to up keep her image and you mostly need money for that! lol!

SORRY about your husband and the job...I will be crossing my fingers for you!

Natalie said...

There are no words. I'm SO sorry that you've had to resort to 6th grade. Of all the age groups... As you know, I'd rather teach kindergarten than be subjected to that many angsty adolescents! Not to mention, as I think you told me when I was working at the day care, you can only direct so many energy to each age group before you get burnt out on it. I probably could have happily taught preschool for forever if I didn't have young kids that needed homework help and refereeing to come home to. If I were at the middle school all day, the first time one of my kids rolled their eyes I'd probably take out a whole day's worth of pent up freaking out out on them.

Rocketgirl said...

yeah, I taught high school for a year. Public school kills my soul, you are a BRAVE woman. I actually was considering getting my credentials up to help in our similar husband-not-working situation, until I had a nightmare about it last night... blaahhhh. Big e*goodlucks for you!!!

Sue Q said...

Aaaah, sixth grade -- your joy knows no bounds. Seriously. None.

I loved my sixth grade teacher, but she was a Nazi when she needed to be, which was probably more often than I remember. I applaud you and your dedication to your family to sacrifice a measure of sanity to accomplish the greater good!

My fingers are crossed for your hubby, though -- I'm just hoping that, as was the case in the 40's, it won't take another war to get us out of this depression!

nikkicrumpet said...

UGH I hope your hubby gets back to work soon. It's a tough time right now for anyone in the construction trades. Hopefully things will pick up before you maim a 6th grader!

Anna Lefler said...

Oh, man - I just had a junior high flashback! [shudder]

Thanks for visiting my blog, BTW - I really appreciate it!

Have a wonderful weekend...

:^) Anna

Alison Wonderland said...

I was just going to read today, I wasn't going to comment but I would hate to feel responsible for damaging your morale.

Oh and 6th grade, good luck with that.

Laura said...

Of course you have my sympathy. You know that 6th grade was my worst year, what with Mr. Fatton--I mean Patton, the meanest, most morale depleting teacher in the world. Just don't tell any awkward, shy, day-dreamy girls that they're as slow as a slug, and should stop "making eyes" at the grossest kid in the class. You could really damage her...sorry, bad memories, lol.

Oh, and we're praying for you! =)

Boy Mom said...

I was thinking of signing up as a substitute for the same reasons... then I spent a day helping out in kindergarten. Ack! Best of luck with those sixth graders.

H.K. said...

I hope your husband finds work soon, we've been there before too. Not fun, but we came out unscathed!

Teaching high school intimidates me, and I have a teenager! Sending you lots of good thoughts that you survive 6th grade and look forward to reading your posts whenever you have time to write them!