Another lesson from subbing

June 1, 2012 in Five Minute Friday,lessons for moms,substitute teaching

Linking up today with those who love writing and who enjoy a 5-minute writing exercise and then encourage each other with comments. Such fun. Join us at Gypsy Mama. No qualifications needed! Today’s word: See



I spent the morning subbing for a teacher’s aide in a middle school special ed room. Substitute aides don’t have enough responsibility to fill the time. I record observations and write in my head to stay awake. The teacher was a short, stout lady with a gray pony tail and and a habit of excuse making for things not being the way she thought they should. As I listened I learned she would retire after more than 30-years in 7 short days. 


She was trying to guide students through a story problem about probablity. Math is not my strong subject but I knew she wasn’t doing the problem correctly, so did one other student. Her technique and answer were wrong. And when confronted, she insisted. The student refused to acknowledge her way as correct, she exploded. I pointed out I had gotten the same answer as the student. It was too much. 


She went on a soapbox about respect and read a thank you letter from a former student about how awesome she was and how she was the only teacher who cared and taught the letter-writer anything in middle school. Then she said she was going to skip probability problems and she didn’t want to talk about it. 


I read a few posts on SEE this morning, and had the idea of seeing with His eyes in my head. This small women, I wanted to shake and say, stop it, you’ve gone the wrong direction. But I sat silently, mouthed, “it’s okay” to the student who knew the right answer and prayed for her. How much disrespect had this tired teacher endured? What health issues prompted retirement? Her grandchildren were coming to visit that afternoon she proudly said, but there wasn’t a wedding ring on her finger. What pain had this woman endured? 


Lord help me to see. Help me see with your eyes before I react with my own brand  of indignation at injustice. I am guilty too. 


(Time is up but you need to know that this teacher returned to the classroom after a brief absence later in the morning. She had checked with a math teacher and she apologized for misteaching the problem. Then acknowledged her student’s correctness and retaught the problem.


image credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Bell Jar Vintage June 1, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Happy Friday, Laura! I think this prompt was so close to the word “perspective”. It’s hard to separate the two, you know? You are very good at trying to see things through other people’s eyes.

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Tiffany June 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I love how you ended this, which wasn’t how I was expecting. Instead of feeling angry or rushing to judgement, you offered a prayer. What a kind and understanding thing to do.
Stopping by from The Gypsy Mama.

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Positively Alene June 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Hey girl – love this! How often we don’t see the WHOLE picture or stop to think there might be another story before we jump to judge. Love how you could sense that and prayed for the woman. Beautiful!!!

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Melissa June 2, 2012 at 12:59 am

Thanks for sharing this story. I love how you prayed for her, and how she sought out answers and then made an effort to admit when she was wrong and patch things up. I need to try to consider what else could be going on just like you did!

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Michele {A Life Surrendered} June 2, 2012 at 1:16 am

Oh wow…. I want this kind of sight.. this kind of grace to offer. If I could only see through His eyes. I love your humility here.

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Kerri S June 2, 2012 at 2:20 am

love this…such a beautiful picture of grace and mercy! i need to be working on that right now…thank you for the encouragement, my friend!!

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Jenn and Casey June 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Wow. I think she was also very brave to come back and apologize.

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misssrobin June 4, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I love this line: “Help me see with your eyes before I react with my own brand of indignation at injustice.”

I was surprised at your addendum. I’m glad she was humble enough to check and to apologize.

Thank you for sharing. I don’t spend enough time trying to see with His eyes.

Stopping by from SITS.

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