As a substitute teacher, the kids seem to always ask me about my long fingernails. Are they real? How do I get them that way? They ask about the wrinkly skin on my hands — a lot of Black and Hispanic kids aren’t used to seeing wrinkly skin as their elders age with less wrinkles because of their skin color. I tell them I’m old but I still rock and I’m a force to be reckoned with. They like that.
I have a tattoo on my hand and they ask if it hurt. Sometimes I tell the truth, in that it didn’t really hurt, but at other times I say, “You have no idea, but if you really want something in life, sometimes you have to go through the discomfort.” (This is mostly to the older kids and I’m trying to imply that they should do their work).
I enjoy being with the kids. They are all the same. They are all good in the same way and act out in the same way. Sometimes they aspire to being the worst class I’ve ever had and I laugh and tell them they have no idea how ordinary they are. This sobers them….