I'm going to say this right now - I don't like having to do substitute plans.
As a reading specialist, I am called away for a number of events, professional development, and personal days. Planning to be away from my classroom is quite time consuming - and once you're gone, you can only hope that your kiddos behave - and that the sub follows your plans. This was me last Friday - Bob and I headed to Arkansas a day early to have a three day weekend, so I left plans for the sub to follow - and told my kids to mind their manners. I returned on Monday with a litany of sub notes - certain classes did fantastic, but other classes - not so much. In my 5th Hour alone, I had five names left for behavior issues. My policy has always been the following - if your name gets left for behavior, you automatically get a one-hour detention, no questions asked. I told my 5th Hour this on Monday, with the intention of assigning the detentions Tuesday.
I had a parent phone call on Tuesday, inquiring about the detention I had assigned his son. Per usual, the kid probably went home and told his dad a bogus story, and now, he is trying to get out of it. I called this student down from lunch and had a chat with him about the situation. I had him tell me what he said to his dad, then I listened to his account of the story. To preface this, the sub I had on Friday has a disability that causes her to limp significantly. This student told me that a group of boys at the computer station on Friday were making fun of the sub because of her disability. This student told me that he turned around to them and said, "Stop talking about her. She is disabled". Unfortunately, the sub saw him talking along with the other boys, and wrote his name down along with the rest.
I have a middle school story radar that I have developed over the last ten years - I can detect a fake story from a mile away. Needless to say, my radar did not go off here - I detected a respectful 6th grader trying to do the right thing. This is the way we hope all of our students act in times like this. Considering this new information, I showed this student some grace - and I cancelled his detention. We called his father together and told him the news, then the student headed back to lunch.
We all deserve a little grace in our lives. This student's bravery and upstanding behavior merited a forgiveness of his detention. We are good at giving grace to others, but we are not so good about giving it to ourselves. We are our own worst critics - we make a mistake, and we hold it against ourselves, and put ourselves down as a result. We cannot make this a habit – grace is considered unmerited favor. We do not always deserve it, but it is given to us freely, without cause. The Lord does this for us daily – there is no telling how many times we fall short of His glory. We do not deserve His unmerited favor – but He gives it to us each and every day. The Lord sent his one and only Son to this earth, live the life of a human, and become the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. The Lord loves us that much – if He can give me grace, then I need to figure out how I can give it to myself.
E-mail me at email@example.com