Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Reasonable Doubt

I was out of school today for a couple of doctor appointments, and the sub I had sends email updates at the end of the day. I kind of like her initiative; on the plans I leave I always request a note detailing the day's events, and this way I get it right away.

I know from personal experience, both as a student AND a sub, that it's a hard job. I try to leave thorough plans with concrete, doable activities to make things go smoothly, but I know that doesn't always work. I try to find subs who work in our school regularly so they know the kids and the kids know them, but again, that is not always an option or even successful. I have lectured, scolded, and referred students upon my return, but as far as I can tell, that doesn't really improve things, either.

Kids and subs... it's a conundrum.

So some years ago I decided to let it go, or at least extend the benefit of the doubt to all parties. What happens with the sub stays with sub, or something like that. Never mind the hours I put in on my sub plans: let the sub take the credit when they love the lesson. And no matter how ridiculous the claim, "The sub said we didn't have to..." I'll shrug it off and let them know they have to now. Certainly, I express disappointment when informed of poor behavior, but in the grand scheme of things, it's 47 minutes.

Today, though, my sub informed me that my students shattered not one, but two Rubik's cubes that I keep in my classroom. "The pieces are in a tray on your desk," she wrote. "I'm so terribly sorry."

That doesn't sound accidental to me. I wonder what they'll tell me tomorrow.

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