|Posted by Ronnie on January 6, 2012 at 10:00 AM|
A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult. Proverbs 12:16
As a substitute teacher, it is easy to become annoyed practically from the moment I walk into a school. The kids love to walk into a classroom and yell to each other, "It's a sub! We've got a sub!" As in, "Fresh meat, guys!"
Fortunately, I've become pretty well known and apparently well liked in many of the schools where I work. Yesterday, once again, I was ignorant of schedule changes. As I tried to understand why the 6th grade students were not going where I thought they should go, one of the kids, a little know-it-all, who reminded me of Woody Allen but with black hair, began to say in a whining voice, "She's just a sub, guys, she's just a sub. She doesn't know." The tone implied, "Ignore her. She doesn't know what she's talking about. She's just another idiot sub, she doesn't know anything."
I looked up to see his eyes fixed on my face and I gave him my most charming smile. His countenance lightened as he smiled back. He repeated his statement, but this time with an addition. "She's just a sub, guys. How's she supposed to know? Give her a break."
I thanked him for understanding and told him how the scheduling was different last year. He calmly explained to me that the scheduling process had been changed. "How could you have known? he asked me. It's not your fault. It's a dumb rule anyway, it confuses everybody."
Our exchange changed just like that, with a momentary smile. The other students calmed down and gave me some encouragement. And we all ended the exchange on a happy note. I could have gotten annoyed with their initial tone and the conversation would have taken a completely different route.
Being a substitute teacher has helped to keep me humble. I often have to ask questions and depend on the students, if they are old enough to help me navigate some of the intricacies of each school. I look at every day as in opportunity to, without ever mentioned Christianity or religion, be an ambassador of Christ wherever I go.