Saturday, October 15, 2011

Adventures in Substitute Teaching: Outside All Day

I've just discovered a secret jewel in the crown of the substitute teacher. The PE teacher. Wait.... before you roll your eyes, just listen for a moment, there are moments of awesome. Truly blissful, awesome.

The PE teacher job is tricky. It's success depends greatly on weather. I was just happily the PE teacher for two solid days of absolutely beautiful sun-shiny weather.

The PE teacher job also comes with a tool. The whistle. Fans, until you've held the whistle power, you really do not know what you are missing. Literally, dozens of children will stop in their tracks when you blow the whistle. Some of the children will watch you carefully. Very carefully watching for the moment you may bring the whistle to your lips to signal the 'line-up' time. Their only goal? To be first in line.

The PE teacher job also comes with the liberty of wearing my most comfortable, most favorite sneaks to school. After all, I'm the PE teacher. That's almost like an assistant coach, right? I mean.... they let me have a whistle for Pete's sake.....

Whistle + Sneaks + children running = Coach-like person or PE teacher. It's science. Or simple math. Either way, it doesn't matter to me, because I'm the PE teacher.... no math or science necessary.

Many of you that know me, will be wondering how I might exploit this limited whistle power. Let me just tell you, children are fun. My options are almost limitless. Let's begin.

First of all, I quickly figured out this 'first in line' thing was a huge deal. Towards the end of every class, I would 'fake' bring the whistle to my lips, and 'almost' whistle. Children would run to the line. Then, I was able to actually blow the whistle to signal that it wasn't line up time yet. I know, it's subtle humor that mostly only I laughed at, but I've got to fill the day, right?

Next, I would hold the whistle in my mouth for no reason. The children didn't like that much.

"Why is the whistle in your mouth?"


"Why is that in your mouth?"

Two very popular questions. My replies were dumb:

"I'm warming it up."


"I forgot where I left it."

I'm outside all day with children. I'm making it fun for all of us.

Even when I got a little bit hot and a little bit sun burned it was okay because there was a shade tree and a bench to sit on. Under the shade tree were also boys digging in dirt and collecting rocks and sticks. Fun stuff, mostly only little boys will enjoy. I knew they had made me part of their club when I was presented with a prize. A bug.

Tiny little boys, digging in dirt and bringing me bugs. I am super good at that.

No whistle needed.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Friday at the Fair or Quality Time With the Bossman

I can't even believe it myself! I was tricked! Here's the story of how I became a Ninja lamb whisperer.

Early Friday morning, I was elected (by secret ballot) to be the 'helper' to the Bossman on the day to deliver the lambs to the fair for the stock show. The children were otherwise obligated for some silly thing..... oh yes, school! I wore old clothes and old sneakers.

I climbed up into the truck still rubbing my eyes after a late night football adventure the night before. The Bossman is grinning from ear to ear, "Are you ready for some quality time?"

We pick up the lambs and get them into the trailer without incident.

(A few years ago, we spent an hour chasing a runaway lamb. The Bossman got so mad he left in his truck to go get a 'lasso' to capture the runaway lamb. By the time he got back, I had the lamb's rope in hand while the silly thing was eating hay from my other hand. I just couldn't figure out how to get that lamb through the electric fence without shocking myself. That 'no lasso needed' lamb capture is still fresh in the Bossman's mind when we begin this adventure.)

We arrive at the fair, and unload without any problems. Everything is going pretty smoothly. Then, the Bossman announces that it's time to start washing them. He decides we'll wash and shear one at a time before moving onto the next lamb. I just look at him in disbelief. "We're washing right now?"

It begins.

We start with the most unruly lamb. It's my job to hold the rope while the Bossman washes the lamb. Sounds like an easy enough task, until the Bossman turned the water on. This insane lamb starts to jump and thrash. He jumps up and almost out of the wash rack several times while dislodging the latch to the wash rack gate and almost escaping. The Bossman was impressed with my ducking skills when the lamb jumped up and almost kicked my face! I was kicked in the arm and chest but I never let go of the rope. (That's a super big deal.)

The washing and shearing goes on like this for about 45 minutes per lamb. At the end of the task, I was wet, tired and bloody. I look up at the Bossman and say, "You should have checked the boys out of school for this." He then laughs at me and says, "But then we'd miss all this quality time together. I'll buy you some lunch in a few minutes." He wipes some blood and sweat from my forehead and gives me a little kiss, then hands me a wire brush and tells me to start brushing out the legs on Southdown.

I'm greatly encouraged by the promise of lunch, so I begin my brushing task. "Her legs are still wet, the brush isn't working." The Bossman then sets me up with a blower. Now, I'm in my element! I'm blow drying and brushing out the leg wool of a lamb! This is almost like being in the beauty shop! No problem!!

I'm happily blowing and brushing this lamb's leg, when a large chunk of, let's call in 'mud', violently flies up and bonks me in the mouth! I'm shocked! Can this be right? Basically, I've just hit myself in the mouth with a giant old lamb turd? No. That can't be right. That would never happen at the beauty shop. I finish up the lamb's legs without mentioning the lamb turd to the Bossman. My only thought at that point was not delaying lunch any further.

The Bossman did buy my lunch that day. He said I did a great job of not letting go of the rope on any lamb, and the legs looked great on the Southdown. I devoured my lunch while not talking much. I was cold, still wet, still bloody and I was busy wiping the memory of flying lamb turds from my brain. I just told him to work on a better adventure for our next quality time outing. Less blood and maybe zero turds would be a good start.