No respect, Low pay, Crappy insurance & “Involved” parents.
All this and the kids try to hit you …
Sign me up!!!
When life led me to the “fork in the road”, many times I picked it up and started to eat my way out of feeling feelings and lost the clear path to the right direction. But all it took was that one football practice where my son’s coach waved me over to help with the linemen. I guess that the way those boys looked up to me and listened caught the eye of the head coach’s wife because she quickly asked me to start substituting. Something about most of the boys that visited OCS were members of the football team and with me being laid off, I needed to start making some quick cash.
I remember walking into that first classroom and trying not to show fear and resorted to the “character” that most teachers and students know now as “Mr. Garcia”.
After a few months of:
“You can’t do this”, “you can’t do that”, “you have no power in the classroom” and “you can’t say that”
I almost lost my mind … seriously.
Some teachers would ask me “why would you volunteer for OCS?” Knowing that is where all the trouble makers disappear to for a few days at a time, but in my mind … Every kid has to have that moment to learn from their mistakes. I believed that they would love to learn it in a boring OCS room with Mr. Garcia instead of on the street at the hands of another kid who is trying to make a name for themselves.
So 4 years ago, when they started me at $70 a day … It sucked!!!
But I kept doing it.
Even after all the cuss outs, the physical threats, the spit dodging, the rock throwing, the brick thru my car window and the actual physical attacks …
I still kept doing it.
Teachers would rarely ask me “why don’t you just become a teacher already?”
So I finally got off my ass and started the journey.
So the other day I was asked by a teacher “did you make any other kids afraid of you today?”
I kinda lost my cool and whatever respect that I had for that teacher.
“Mr. Garcia” is not in the game to scare kids … he helps kids try to stay out of trouble by teaching them in any way that he can to get and keep their attention (Yes, I know that I’m talking in the 3rd person).
What that teacher didn’t know was that earlier that week I was teaching 25 fifth grade kids to push themselves farther than they possibly had gone before. I had them working in teams and succeeding in projects that I’ve seen high school and college kids fail at. They were excited; they showed heart … hell … some of them gave me hugs after the class was over.
It has got to a point that certain kids are getting in trouble on purpose to come and sit with me in OCS. Earlier that morning, one of my OCS kids decided to flash his cell phone
(which is not allowed on campus),
got it picked up (a $15 buy back charge), tried to enter the teacher’s lounge to recover it and even thought that growling at Mr. Garcia
would get it back for him.
What this OCS kid didn’t know was that I had a class that day and it wasn’t OCS. I was cool as a cucumber, knowing that I could talk this kid down. So I put on my best smile
and walked him to the office.
There was another substitute on campus trying to handle OCS but when this youngster was told to go to OCS, he walked the campus looking for me instead of going to the OCS room.
I have become use to the extra “troubled kid” being brought to me while I have a class, so I didn’t think anything of it when this youngster knocked on the door. The only difference this time was that in about 15 minutes, the school would be on “lock down” looking for this kid because he never showed up to OCS. That even got some other teachers to tell me,
“I really wish that these kids didn’t bond so well with you because now he’s suspended.”
It’s not my fault that the term OCS is now synonymous with Mr. Garcia but if it helps keep these kids at bay when their asked, “do you want to spend the day with Mr. Garcia?”
And who knows …
Maybe I might just make a difference
One kid at a time …