Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Overheard conversation between two teens

10/10/06 - 11:15 a.m.

I remember being in high school and having lots of quiet hushed conversations with friends during class and writing notes and doing my fair share of being a teen, and I remember feeling like I was getting away with it, but one thing I've learned since I started subbing is that THE TEACHER HEARS AND SEES EVERYTHING. It's true.

I overheard the following conversation yesterday, and it broke my heart a little.

I'm not exactly sure how the conversation got around to adoption, but it did, and then I overheard this snippet of talk:

TEEN #1: I was adopted.

TEEN #2: Really?

TEEN #1: Yeah.

TEEN #2: When?

TEEN #1: When I was eight.

TEEN #2: So did you ever meet your real parents?

TEEN #1: Of course. I lived with them until I was seven.

TEEN #2: Were they nice?

TEEN #1: No.

TEEN #2: Why not?

TEEN #1: Because they left scars on my back, that's why.

And that was it. The second teen shut up, not really sure how to respond, but finally getting the message that the first teen didn't want the second teen to press the issue any further. The first teen didn't seem upset really, she was very matter-of-fact. But I was innerved--just the fact that I had overheard this small private moment, it felt invasive. Like I'd accidentally read someone's diary or something. I really felt for this teenaged kid, and I'm glad she got out of that situation and found a loving family, a home. (Which I know she did, based on the rest of her conversation.)


Gina said...

That's gnarly.

So, are you enjoying your stint as a sub or are you just in it for the money?

p.s. FIRST!

Anonymous said...

you are a good blogger.

Erik said...

Gina, I love being a substitute teacher. I especially love being a "cool sub." It's totally fun (most of the time--some of the time it's hellacious).

I feel like most substitute teachers are either mean bastards who are agro about making students do their work (and thus the students hate them) or they're total push-overs who don't make the students do any work and let the students walk all over them (and thus the students don't respect them and therefore hate them). I try to find a balance between making sure the kids get their work done, but also not really being a hardass about it and letting them chat (up to a point). And maybe I'm just kidding myself, but I like to think that makes me not just a "cool" sub, but a good one too. Who knows. I just try to encourage the kids to apply themselves, and if I can make a bit of a difference for some kids: rockstar.

So, yeah, I enjoy it. I find it really rewarding.

Erik said...

thank you lindsaylindsay!

Gina said...

i think you ARE the cool sub ans i think you're affecting these kids lives in a postive way every time you enter the class room. I think if you weren't a writer, you should become a teacher b/c you have a natural knack for this. Not everyone does. There are a lot of teachers out there, but not all of them like what they do, which results in kids slipping throught the system b/c it's easier than the teacher going the extra mile and actually getting involved in the kids lives. You wouldn't do that. You'd be the kind of teacher that kids come back 20 y ears later to see and tell them how much you changed their lives. the kind of teacher that kids thank when they are accepting their oscar, grammy, tony, pulitzer etc. YOU are a rockstar, and I love you:)

willam said...

lovin your blog. if you were my sub, i'd be your sub. Tres Letourneau. lol