At 12:30 pm every weekday, I bring T. and R. to school. First I drop off T. in the lobby, where he lines up with his Kindergarten classmates. Then I exit the school and walk down the sidewalk to another entrance. R. and her Pre-K class line up there.
Yesterday was gorgeous and the children were running around, taking full advantage of the summer like day. The parents stood by and chatted. We each waited patiently for Miss L., the teacher, to relieve us of our parental duties for two and a half hours. Two and a half precious, PEACEFUL hours.
There was a young man standing next to the grandma of one of the students. I had never seen him before, but assumed he was with her. Then I heard her say, "She lines them up here." Then she asked me, "Do you know who the line leader is this week?"
I mouthed the words, "Is HE a substitute?" She smiled and rolled her eyes and then nodded. I think my eyes bugged out a bit.
Now, I have total faith in our school. I know they wouldn't hire a teacher that wasn't qualified. He just didn't LOOK like a teacher. His Chinos were wrinkled, his white dress shirt with the blue pin strips, that was untucked, was worse. I wondered if he had pulled them out of a heap on the floor, smelled them for cleanliness, and decided, "Good enough!"
He stood, a bit hunched over. I wanted to get him a chair because I thought he might fall asleep at any moment. Was he out with his buddies last night? Or did he get up at the crack of dawn to go surfing......Duuuuuuuuude?
Yes, that's what he reminded me of, a surfer. Blonde, messy hair; a blank look on his face. He held a black motorcycle helmet in his hand. Someone asked him if he had a motorcycle, not that the helmet was any clue. He seemed to perk up for a second and answered, "Yea! A Harley!"
The grandma and some of the parents turned to me. I am the veteran of this group, as I've been through the school with W. already. My eyes grew big as if to say, "OH BOY!"
I thought. R. is NOT going to like this. She is always less than thrilled when there is a substitute. A MAN substitute was going to be that much harder for her to deal with. I said to her, "R. this is Mr. David, he is going to be here for Miss L. today."
She looked like she might throw up or run for the hills. I couldn't blame her, as I was not sure Spicoli could handle the job either.
I walked over to her and placed my arms around her. Hoping she wouldn't hear the apprehension in my voice, I whispered, "Don't worry Miss C. will still be here today." Miss C. is the assistant who R. adores.
The kids lined up. The parents all moved closer to their kids, as though they might grab them and flee. Miss C. came off the school bus with the last of the kids from the class. She must have smelled the fear in the air.
She whispered to me, "Don't worry, I won't leave them." She glanced at Mr. David and then looked me in the eye, "Not for a second!"
Ahhhh.....Thank GAWD for Miss C.