I got a phone call Wednesday afternoon asking if I could fill in for my son's teacher at lunch on Thursday. All the fifth grade teachers were going out to lunch for teacher appreciation, and parents would be filling in for them. I said sure, no problem. Then I hung up the phone and thought .... two hours with a bunch of unruly 5th graders...what am I thinking?
See, I love children. I adore babies. I used to dream of having a house FULL of kids. And Teenagers..I LOVE 'EM! Teenagers are so full of LIFE, they have open minds, they are thinkers, challenging everything. Teenagers are the best.
Then there are tweenagers. sigh. This is the age of about 8 to 14. They are uncoordinated, silly, foolish and a pain in the patootie. This is MY opinion. I love babies and I love teens...but the tweenagers?? They drive me nuts. Every single stinking thing is "boring" or "stupid". They are mean to each other. They are annoying. MY OPINION, K?
So, yesterday about 11 am I arrive at the school with my 3 year old in tow. The teacher smiles, says thanks for covering for her, shows me what plans are expected for the class and leaves.
OF COURSE right away I have unruliness. A substitute is in class that means party time, right? Since it was 11am it was time for lunch. The class ran out into the hall and then ran to the lunch room. Not five minutes had passed and I had lost control. Two more hours to go. Lunch was pretty uneventful except for the part when another teacher had to get my students in order. OK, that's IT!!!! I will NOT have someone else doing my job. If these kids needed discipline I was the one to give it.
Lunch was over and I ordered everyone in line. Now when I say ordered, I mean ORDERED. I
decided, hey, I've been to boot camp, I know how to act like a drill instructor. The kids were shocked. I changed from nice sweet Mrs Fields, into SGT FIELDS. I yelled "LINE UP AGAINST THE WALL.....NOW!!!" Then I went in the women's latrine (Army mindset now, right?) and yelled "COME ON LADIES...EVERYONE IS WAITING ON..YOU!!!" Little girls scurrying out into the hall to see everyone in line standing at attention. We double time it back to the class room, teachers staring at the mom in the Army "Hooah" sweat shirt yelling, "doubletime, people, don't keep me waitin'!".
We get in the classroom and I have 10 minutes to kill before the class changes. I go to the front of the class and I announce "I am SGT Fields of the Georgia Army National Guard. I heard some of you didn't believe Josh's mom was in the Guard. Raise your hands, who didn't believe I was in the Guard??" Several hands shoot up. I ask who in the class knows anything about the Guard. No hands. I ask who has questions about the Guard. Several hands shoot up and I take a question and answer period. I breifly outline the history of the Guard. I tell them that 20 presidents have served in the Guard, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, U. S. Grant, Harry Truman to name a few. I spoke about how the Guard helps locally, statewide, nationally and globally. Then it was time for them to change class.
My new class comes in with GLEE at seeing yet another Sub. I see it in their beady little eyes, they think "push-over mom". I am still standing at the front of the class and proceed to order everyone in their seats. A look of utter shock on their faces. Now I am the one wearing a look of glee. I announce that I am SGT FIELDS! I am in the Army National Guard. I go through another question and answer period. Only this time the boys have a LOT of questions. Do I know hand to hand combat? I tell them that, no, I do not know hand to hand combat however if a soldier ever gets to that point something has gone terribly wrong. I talk about our superior armed forces and how the insurgents are no match for our guys with a gun. We talked about RPG's, about IED's etc. A kid asks me if I have ever been called a maggot. I respond "of course." Snickers across the room. Then someone asked about my sweatshirt. "What does hoorah mean in the Army?" I quickly corrected him to the proper pronounciation.."It's HOO ahh" and then showed the back of my sweatshirt with the definition:
They were like "COOL!". I announced that it was time to turn in journal entries and do their current day's journal entry. They looked bored and disappointed. They moved at a snail's pace getting their work done. I kept calling out encouragement.."come on, get it done. Who is STILL not finished?" I spot someone with a headset on listening to a CD palyer... hand it over sister! I realised I needed to get MORE serious with these kids.
Time for their vocabulary test. I shout that I want everything off the desks. I run around shouting at the kids not complying, acting like a DI, they are loving it. I announce that we will take the test the ARMY way! I have them count off (yelling "I CAN'T HEAR YOU" occasionally) then I make the odd numbers move to one side of the class and the even numbers to the other side of the class. They take their test quickly. Then I yell "CHECK YOUR PAPER TO MAKE SURE YOUR NAME IS ON IT. NOW, THE LEFT SIDE OF THE CLASS MOOOVE TO THE RIGHT. THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE CLASS MOOOVE TO THE LEFT! MOVE MOVE MOVE MOVE!!!" They quickly moved and we graded the papers. Shouts of Hooah were going up when I would ask someone "YOU! Read question three!" "Hooah, number three..." We then worked on a worksheet together. People who got the answer wrong had to "Drop and give me five recruit!" It was hilarious! They were fighting to get the answers, fighting to get their work done, working hard to pay attention.
We had some time to kill and I asked them if they wanted to play some of the classroom games...noooooo, they wanted more of the ARMY! So I gave it to them. We discussed several terms peculiar to the Army and Military. I defined that "At Ease" was a command for a certain stance but also to quiet down. I talked about boot camp, where I had been stationed, women in the Military etc. They asked if I ever had to "drop and give em' 20". I said of course that just this past drill my phone went off during formation and my 1st SGT said to drop and give him 10! They were amazed. Then the teacher returned. She was in shock. I had them policing the room and warned them "IF YOU MISS A SINGLE SCRAP OF PAPER, NO MATTER HOW SMALL, I WANT 5 PUSH-UPS!" The noise level started to rise and I called out an "AT EASE!", soon they quieted down again. The room was soon spotless but not before several boys dropped and gave me 5 anyway! Finally one said "Can you be our teacher?" I laughed and asked him how old he was. 10 years old. I said "In 8 years, look me up, I'll make SURE you are in my Army!"
I briefed the teacher on what had been accomplished and then got my things together to leave. As I was leaving the room my new recruit said "see ya in 8 years!" I said "Hooah!"
I stopped by another classroom to pick up my son since it was close to the end of the school day. He said "Thank God! That teacher was awful... hey what was going on in your classroom?? You could hear y'all all the way into our class." I asked what he heard and he said "A lot of shouting!" LOL.
Well, I had a blast. The kids were great. Maybe tweenagers aren't so bad. They just need direction. I felt energized and ready for more. My son was NOT happy that he had missed it. Oh well, he gets it EVERY DAY! LOL.