Today, I subbed in an early-childhood class. There was an aide (yay!!) and we'll call her Maddie. The regular teacher was there when I arrived at school, and we chatted a minute, then she introduced me to a woman saying, "And this is your wonderful aide. Maddie is so wonderful - I just love her!! She knows all about the routine and knows the kids, and will be soooo much help to you!" I'm thrilled - never have I disliked a class when there was an aide. So, I shook Maddie's less-than-enthusiastic, limp-wristed hand, introduced myself to her down-trodden face and accompanied her slower-than-a-turtle's-pace walk to the classroom. Where she sat in her chair. So, I sat in the chair at the desk opposite her and looked at her, expecting to have a conversation about when we get the kids, how we get the kids, how many kids there are, what to watch out for, what we're studying, or ANYTHING. I saw the top of her head.
Ain't met nobody yet I can't carry on a conversation with, so I started...
Me: So, how many kids do we have?
Me: How many are boys?
Me: What time do we go get them?
Her: 12:40 (I subbed half day today)
Me: What are we studying this week?
Her: (saying absolutely nothing as she throws a set of papers at me with the lesson plan on it)
Me: Oh, the letter P! Are we asking the kids to tell us words that start with P? I have a funny story of when my son Chase was in pre-K, they were learning the letter P and he...
Her: (completely interrupting me) No.
Me: O...K... so what do we do?
Her: (again saying nothing, but looking at me like I'm an idiot as she shook her identical packet of paper at me)
Me: O...K... (so I study the lesson plans) Do I read the book first or do circle time first?
Her: (again with the idiot look) whatever.
Me: Well, I want to do it right so the kids have their routine...
Her: There's no routine. Like I said, do what you want.
So that's how the day went. Me trying my very best to be cheerful and get the kids to talk (collectively, they maybe spoke 20 words in 3 hours), to play with them while getting them to learn, etc etc etc, all of the things I have always done when subbing in an early-childhood class. If she spoke at all, it was to reprimand ME for helping the kids. "They're not babies. Quit helping them, miss!" I must have heard that a thousand times. So I started standing around watching the kids as they silently did whatever they were doing feeling useless and stupid. When the schedule said it was time for recess, I asked if it was time to start getting ready to go outside. She said, while again, giving me the idiot look, "If YOU want to take them, YOU can I'm NOT taking them. It's too windy." (20-30 mph winds do not constitute forcing 4 year olds to stay inside in MY book, so I took em while she glared at me.)
When I turned the CD player on, she yelled at me that I was pushing the tape buttons (I wasn't) and that it was a "C-D, NOT A TAPE" and again with the idiot look.
If I tied a kid's shoes so he wouldn't HURT HIMSELF, I got reprimanded.
If I attempted to help clean up a spill, I got reprimanded.
When I zipped up a kid's jacket, I got reprimanded.
At one point, she simply walked out of class. Didn't say, I'll be back in a sec, I'm on my break, I'm going to the bathroom, I'm going to go commit several felonies, NOTHING. Came back in about 10 minutes and reprimanded me that we weren't supposed to be reading books at this time. Couldn't I follow the schedule?
By the end of the day, I was at the end of my rope. All I could get (if anything) out of her were one-syllable answers. Yes. No. And that's basically it. It's REALLY hard to have a conversation with someone who will only give you very basic information. So, we got the kids ready to go, and I said "Do all of the kids ride the same bus?" She said:
(you guessed it) No.
And we walked on to the busses.
Finally, all of the kids were gone, and I turned to say goodbye to her. She said, "See you tomorrow!" with a big smile and walked away.
...because I signed up for a two day gig (and tomorrow is ALLLLLL DAYYYYY). I'll NEVER do that again!