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MaineSub MaineSub is offline
 
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MaineSub
 
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Tis the season...
Old 12-11-2019, 04:34 AM
 
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Following our recent middle school concert, a small group of us happened to get talking while picking up and putting things away (I am a sub but very involved in the school on a volunteer basis as well.) Some of our best PD takes place informally while carrying stuff back to the music room...

We bemoaned the fact that some of the kids simply didn't show up, probably because they had no transportation--working parents or maybe they just didn't care. I well remember one year consoling a kid (teen, not a little one) who came with friends and ended up crying because no one from her family saw her performance.

Our discussion developed into how the kids are impacted by the season and several (including our school nurse) noted that the anticipation of vacations can be very stressful of our kids. For many, it means over a week with a loss of structure and schedule, no regular meals, not seeing their usual friends... along with the many familial issues that tend to arise during holiday get-togethers.

We conceded that there's not a whole lot we can do about some of this but we can be a little sensitive and understanding. We tend to think it's "the most wonderful time of year" but for a child whose parents are addicts (there are more than we might think) or even just struggling to get by it may not be so wonderful. I learned a long time ago not to ask questions about holiday plans, what Santa might bring, etc. If a student brings something up, I certainly listen. Most of the time I love hearing their excitement but there are times when I choke back a tear and remind myself that I can't invite them to my house for Christmas.

This can be a tough time of year to sub. We don't have to excuse behaviors--it's not intentional on the kids' part--but we might try to understand them. How else can we face this "most wonderful time of the year?"


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Lakeside Lakeside is offline
 
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pre-holiday behavior
Old 12-11-2019, 12:33 PM
 
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I don't know, but just wanted to say you make a really good point!! I've known kids in that boat, and it isn't easy.
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Old 12-11-2019, 12:41 PM
 
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I was being abused, everyday, at home. I never said anything because I thought it was normal (I had a sample size of one to compare to). I still looked forward to Christmas, but it would have been nice if someone would have picked up on it and put him in jail, where he belonged. Then I wouldn't have had to struggle my entire life. I think the best thing teachers can do, especially nowadays, when you CAN do something, is to pay attention, dialog with students, and don't assume that if a student isn't flipping off the principal, everyday, and being suspended all the time, that everything is fine.
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Old 12-11-2019, 02:48 PM
 
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Good point, MaineSub. I used to wonder why some kids’ behavior ramped up so much just before a break from school, until a P clued me in as to why that might happen. Very sad, and validates the old saying that kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways.
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Good point...
Old 12-11-2019, 03:20 PM
 
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Thanks for posting this, MaineSub...I've been seeing this lately. Just before Thanksgiving break, a little 1st grader told me she didn't like holidays and would rather be at school. She said she hated being at home because her father was mean to her mom. Very sad.

After Thanksgiving, the LP for a 2nd grade class directed them to write in their journals about what they did during Thanksgiving break. Several of the students seemed really down and said they didn't have anything to write because they didn't remember doing much at all.

You're absolutely right. Not all students come from comfortable, stable homes with financial resources. Many are bouncing from relative to relative or may even be living out of a car. School breaks can be something to dread rather than look forward to. Important to bear in mind and have compassion.


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MaineSub MaineSub is offline
 
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An idea from a kid...
Old 12-11-2019, 05:21 PM
 
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Thanks to those who’ve shared so far... and to bodhimom for your courage and willingness to share. Time and attention are great gifts.

Ironically, the very next night I was at the high school concert. (I have been subbing for quite while, mostly in the lower grades.) One of the boys came over with his hand extended And complained that he hadn’t seen me in quite a while. In an attempt to acknowledge he was no longer a kid, I said, “That’s cause you don’t need me any more.”

He replied, ”You’re wrong. You’re funny and you make us laugh. We still really need that. I miss it.”

So for At least the next couple of weeks, I’ll dig out the old jokes and make a special effort to be as witty as possible. He doesn’t know it, but he helped me figure out one small way to to face “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Maybe we could start a thread of kid jokes? Why is a kitten in the desert like Christmas?”

”It has Sandy Paws!”
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