To life!

More Confessions from a Substitute

Posted on: May 18, 2010

Yes, most instructional assistants (IAs) are jewels; you can’t do without them. But I have a beef with some.

To IAs, classroom decoration is of primordial importance. They interrupt your precious circle time, pulling out kids to hang up some weird objects they have made, whereupon the rest of the class turns to watch and ignore your Oscar-caliber rendition of The Little Pokey Puppy. But the IA who nearly made me lose it, is the one who told me immediately upon the children’s arrival that Joanna was a disobedient child in front of Joanna who glared at me with defiance. I ignored the IA and gave Joanna my attention, but the IA wanted to vent. She followed me to Joanna’s desk, telling me that most of the kids in the school were poor and didn’t have fathers while I fought the urge to grab her throat. At snack time, she said of one kid, “this child never brings snacks,” within earshot of the child, and told me how she had to use her own money to buy snacks. Once again, I wanted to reach for her throat.

What I learned is that schoolchildren in richer neighborhoods are treated better than those in poorer neighborhoods. And the same goes for the curriculum; the better the neighborhood, the more challenging the curriculum.


4 Responses to "More Confessions from a Substitute"

You know what this post made me think of? The movie Precious; I haven’t yet read the book the movie is based on, but there is such a strong thread there in what a significant impact a teacher can have on a child’s education, even in the poorest neighbourhood with the poorest level of curriculum (in this case it was a more of a “makeshift” school for dropouts/at-risk kids that the regular schools couldn’t/wouldn’t accommodate….in any case, a wonderful movie and if you haven’t seen it, you’d love it! 😉

You know, I haven’t seen the movie. I don’t want to because I’m scared of being too angry, too sad. Just the little trailer I saw was so powerful. The acting is too poignant, cuts me deeply. I’m a coward, I know. I’ve seen that kind of abuse. It makes me so, so angry.

This post made me think of Jane Eyre, when little Jane is made to stand in shame above the crowd because her step mother told the man who funds her school that she was ‘bad.’

Terrible to single out a child. Thanks for sharing.

One of the reasons why Jane Eyre is so dear to me is because any kind of child humiliation, especially in the classroom, makes me very, very angry. Thanks for stopping by, Corra.

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