It was my first year of substituting for the district and I was starting to get called regularly by teachers because:
1. I am a man
2. My size kind of intimidated the kids.
I was lucky this one morning to be able to substitute at my son’s school for the 4th time that year. At his school, the kids never knew me as the OCS teacher but they knew that I “didn’t play” and that I was “mean as hell”.
I knew the name of the teacher that I was subbing for but didn’t know what grade that she taught. I remember walking into the office and after asking the secretary what grade was I going to be in and she smiled and said,
“Fourth grade” as she handed me the copy of the class roster.
This was my first time to handle fourth grade and I was a little nervous. I started to walk down the hall to my designated area for the mandatory hall monitoring.
I counted the classrooms as I passed them: Room 3, Room 5, Room 7, turn right at the end of the hall Room 9 and finally Room 11. As I waited for the janitor or team lead to come open my classroom door, all I heard was
“HI MR. GARCIA!!!”
This was said in unison by a bunch of 2nd graders in an eerie song like chant.
I swear that I shook in my shoes when that happened. Then they sprinted at me like
those little green aliens from Toy Story that prayed to “The Crane”. Before I knew it … I was surrounded. They were actually giving me a group hug. I had never had one of those before. Even though I knew they were little kids and they were innocent and happy … I still patted my pockets when they all let go (checking for my wallet, watch and cellphone).
I know that sounds like a shitty thing to say but this school was not our first choice for our kids. Then again, we weren’t aware that we could pay an extra $50 to transfer our kids to a “better school”. Oddly enough, I kept getting booked at this school for a while and I kind of miss it … every once in a while.