Fight Club: Substitute Teacher Edition

Today has been a wild, wild day. It was my very first day EVER of being a substitute teacher (after graduation, it took me forever to get my ducks in a row and I just kind of floundered around before getting the sub-train in motion. But I digress…) and it could not have gone worse.

First, as a little background, I was always the kid in high school who found out about fights a week after they happened. And then I had no clue who the kids even were. I never even saw a fight with my very own eyes before today. That is how inexperienced I am with the whole fight scene.

So, I was in a fourth grade classroom in a rough neighborhood school and I knew the kids were pretty testy. Actually, when I first walked into the office and told them who I was subbing for, they all looked at each other as if deciding who was going to tell me “the bad news.” The bad news being that I was going into the class from hell. The day started out pretty well. I took attendance, I didn’t lose my cool, I got to know their names quickly, they did their science homework quietly. But things went downhill once we got to the computer lab. To make a long story short, I had my back turned for about an eighth of a second, when I hear chairs being tossed and lots of yelling. I turn around and these two boys are on the floor choking and punching each other!

Okay, let me break down my thought process here in a numbered format, since it took about a second in real time:

1. Oh my gosh! They are really fighting!!!!
2. Is this really happening to me?
3. What do I do?
4. I can’t think of ONE thing my professors said about fights!
5. Do I… a.) break up the fight? b.) leave and go to the office for help? c.) send a student to the office while I helplessly yell at them to stop?
6. Is there any way that I could get sued for any combination of the above actions?

In the end, I yelled at some kid to go to the office while breaking up the fight. Everything happened so fast, but I do remember feeling like I’m probably trampling these kids to death (do you remember that scene in Mean Girls when all the girls in the school are fighting and Lindsay Lohan says “It was full-tilt jungle madness.And it wasn’t going away”? Well, I thought of that, too, during this whole fiasco.) Anyway, the office person came to the rescue and I was no more Mr. Nice Guy the rest of the day.

Phew! And would you believe it, I am subbing again tomorrow?! Yep, another long day ahead of me. But I am determined to do well and be the best teacher I can be. I know that somewhere in all of that craziness, God was totally there and had my back. And praise the Lord for coming home to a hot cup of tea and a loving husband after all was said and done!

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