As a supply teacher I’m often on the front lines, so to speak, trying to stop fights and helping kids learn how to get along with each other. It’s much nicer being in a classroom where everyone works well together. I get less grey hairs and the kids have the pleasure of having Mrs. Snow White as a teacher rather than some form of ogre or troll.
I’m sure I’ve quelled thousands of arguments during the past twenty-some years but there is one incident that stands out in my memory above the rest. It was at an elementary school out in the country and three boys were in the middle of a lunch time show down when I walked in on them. They were having one of those “Did not, did too’ arguments. I heard them at it before and I’m sure I would have the wonderful pleasure of hearing it again and again and again.
When I inched my way closer to their stand-off I stuck my head in to the circle and said one simple thing: “You know boys, there’s so much fighting and hating going on in the world, wouldn’t it be nice if there wasn’t any in this school?”
They stopped and looked at me and were stone still quiet.
Then one of them spoke those really, really nice words that I will always treasure: “You know you’re right Mrs. White.” The other two boys nodded their heads and the three took off outside for recess. I didn’t hear any bickering coming from them the rest of the day.
Now, I’m not too sure about the boys' next day or the day after that. Such is the life of a supply teacher. We never get to gain a firm grasp on a school or a class or a child because we jump around from school to school each day. But I like to hold onto that memory when something I said made a difference, even if it was for only a couple hours.