On a Soapbox

I’ve been missing in action again, and that is because I have been focusing on everything but stamping and writing lately.

Two weekends ago, we had our master bedroom and another bedroom painted.  If you don’t think that was a mess, well then…  It took the painters two days to get the two rooms done and me another week to get them put back together.

In the process, a local school district called me about a possible long-term substitute assignment beginning April 27 and ending May 28.  I agreed to a one week trial (my thinking) since I knew I was qualified for the position.  In Colorado, a long-term substitute (longer than 10 days) must be highly qualified to teach the subject in which they will be substituting.  This was a 7th grade Language Arts position in a very low-income middle school.   If I remember correctly, the school’s exact words were, “So we will schedule you for a week and we will see how it goes after that.”  What I heard was, “This might be a tough assignment, so if you don’t want it at the end of the week, we will understand.” The sub they had initially lined up for the job decided he/she didn’t want to do it after all.    I spoke with the teacher with which I would be teaming and she said there had been several subs in the position since the beginning of April.  The students hadn’t had any consistency since their regular teacher left on maternity leave.

Let me clarify something…Low income meant nothing for me; it didn’t scare me.  I spent my entire public school teaching career teaching in a low-income middle school.  Eighty-six percent of the students in this school qualified for free and reduced lunches in 2014.  Forty- four percent of the student population of the school from which I retired qualified for the same program.  The ethnicity of the student population in my old school was also very diverse just like the school I was planning to work in for the next five weeks.  I didn’t know any of these statistics when I agreed to the assignment. I only knew where the school was located in town and knew that it was low income with a very diverse ethnic population. I don’t like going into anything with a pre-conceived notion.

During my time as a teacher, I never had any severe behavior issues with my students.  They were good kids that knew the value of a dollar because they learned its value from their parents.  The majority of their parents were hard-working blue-collar adults that were doing the best they could for their kids, like my family when I was growing up.  Most of my students earned everything they had.  I taught advanced kids, and I taught kids below their grade level.  On a few occasions during my last year the behavior of some of the students in one of my classes prevented me from teaching, but for the most part, I never really had any behavior issues.  I was out for a day or two here and there and had to get a sub to cover my classes.  I remember one time a few of my students decided, they would act up with the sub, and the consequences were severe from both the building administration and from me because I had pre-warned them.  The deal was always, “get in trouble with a sub; get in trouble with me.”

Anyway, to make a long story, which has already gone on too long short, by the end of the week, I decided not to return to the long-term position.  The students’ behavior was reprehensible, to say the least.  I was hardly ever able to teach because of it.  I spent most of my time trying to get the students to listen to me.  Not all were this way, but the majority was.  I even had one tell me to “shut-up.”  He didn’t like the fact that I was asking him to stop talking so I could teach, so he told me, “Why don’t you shut-up?”  Another told me I was “stupid.”  Finally, the student who told me to shut-up then attempted to tell me the reason the students talked back to subs was because they were, “advanced students and bored.” “You haven’t taught us anything new!” he exclaimed.  I told him to tell himself whatever he needed to justify his poor behavior, but I  taught advanced students before and I know what advanced student behavior looks like.  It is always easier to blame our actions on something or someone else than to take responsibility for ourselves.

By the end of the week, I told the principal that I would not be back.    He understood my reasoning perfectly well.  Funny thing is, I was offered the position again via the district’s automatic sub caller for this week.  Needless to say, I turned it down.  Now I know why the original substitute and all of the others that came before me did not stay.

Here is my question.  Why?  Why do the kids in this school behave so poorly? Here is what I think.  I think student behavior relates to parental involvement. I think the rate of parental involvement goes up with the amount of education and financial means of parents.  I don’t think it is a good enough excuse, but that is what I think.  I wish someone would do a study on this.  Maybe someone already has.

As I raised my children, I felt their behavior reflected directly on me. You know the old saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  I had a university professor tell me once that if I ever wanted to know why a child was they way he or she was to look at his parents.  If my kids learned good manners at home, they would use them elsewhere.  If they didn’t, they would have to answer to me.  That is what my parents taught me.  My parents weren’t educated by today’s standards.  Neither one of them went to high school!  I probably would have qualified for free and reduced lunch when I was a kid.  I never told any of my teachers they should shut up or they were stupid…not aloud anyway.

As a single mother, I was low-income, and my children qualified for free and reduced lunch.  They never told any of their teachers to shut up or they were stupid because if they had, they would not have lived to tell about it.  They may have acted up at home, but when they were away from home, they were expected to behave appropriately.  I had a friend tell another friend of mine once he thought my children were afraid of me.  Her response was, “She is their parent, not their friend.”  I think children need to be a little afraid of their parents.  I don’t mean kids should be afraid because their parents abuse them, but afraid because their parents give them negative consequences because of poor choices they might make.

I am off my soapbox and ready to share my project. 🙂

Today’s creation is done using a piece of the Moonlight Designer Series Paper Stack and two current stamp sets found in the Occasions Catalog; Crazy About You and Butterfly Basics.  I also cheated a little on this card and used an already retired item.  I used the spriting tool we used to have with the Hello Honey Stampin’ Write Marker to spritz the background of the card.  Hope you like it.

Mom's BirthdayI had to fussy cut the flowers, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.  I also used only a small piece of the Striped Scallop I cut out using the Striped Scallop Thinlit Die.

Hope you enjoyed your visit today.  Until next time…

Happy Stamping!


2 thoughts on “On a Soapbox

  1. Your card is beautiful!! We are finally attempting to display some of the gorgeous cards you have so graciously sent us over the years. They are too pretty to just file away!! And as far as the sub experience….I have lived that as a regular classroom teacher for the last 10 years of my teaching career and as I got older, it got really old!!!

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