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Category Archives: substitute teaching

Razor Wire

In 1976-77, Romier elementary had razor wire on the roofs to keep vandals off. On Mondays, it was common to find fresh bullet holes in the doors. Once, we arrived to find the doorknobs had been beaten off. On another Monday, we couldn’t park our cars in the parking lot because all the lights had been shot out, and the lot was littered with shards of glass.

First Tank Battalion, First Marine Division, Chu Lai, Vietnam

That year, I made a friend with another teacher. The union rep for the school was Marshal Kahan. Soon after I was hired as a long-term sub, he came to the classroom and offered support and advice. During our conversation, I learned he was also a former United States Marine.

We stayed friends for thirty years and hiked the San Gabriel Mountains together for more than a decade before Marshall was diagnosed with leukemia. He died eight years after the diagnoses. I still miss the loss of his friendship.

The other incident is when James’s father came to shout at me, because his son’s reading score had not improved. I was alone the afternoon the father walked in unexpectedly. He cursed and accused me of being incompetent. He threw the reading book on the floor and said I’d put his son in a book that was too difficult. I shifted my body stance so one side faced him. I’d been taught hand-to-hand combat in the Marines and fought in Vietnam. If he was going to attack, I wanted to be ready.

Discover a Square Peg in a Round Hole

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Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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Substitute Teaching is not a “Tea Party” – Part 3/3

As a substitute teacher, it would have been nice to have had a black belt in judo or karate. I knew one sub that did, and he started every a class with a demonstration of his skills.

Once the class from Dante’s Inferno was mine, I moved the desks around to create a better arrangement for controlling the hyperactive squad of boys.

I moved the teacher’s desk and placed two bookshelves behind it to form a space large enough to hold one desk so no one could make eye contact with James.


Another recent substitute experience.

The problem was, James wouldn’t sit still. I had to keep my sonar turned on. When I sensed he was moving, I’d throw my arm up as if it were one of those arms at a railroad crossing to keep James from getting out and cause a train wreck.

At times, when it was too quiet in that cubbyhole hemmed in with bookshelves, I’d turn to see James on top of his desk spinning on his head like a top with his feet in the air.

If I saw anyone from the wild bunch lifting a fanny off a chair, I’d fling myself across the room twisting my face into a Marine Corps drill sergeant, evil, killer mask.

“Don’t move another inch,” I’d say in a menacing tone that threatened bodily harm. There was never a dull moment. It was in that class that I perfected the killer stare that would serve me well for the next thirty years.

Start with Substitute Teaching is not a “Tea Party” – Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

 

 

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Substitute Teaching is not a “Tea Party” – Part 2/3

I asked, “Why me?”

After all, there were many substitute teachers with more experience. This was my first year.

That’s when I learned that I had been the thirteenth substitute teacher—not a good omen. The other twelve left after the first day and refused to return.

However, I had survived two weeks and knew why the regular teacher died from a heart attack.

And I knew why I had survived—the combat tour in Vietnam as a United States Marine had toughened me for the job.


This video shows a substitute teacher that lost control of herself.  With students like these, I cannot blame her. Do you know that half of new teachers quit within three years and never return to education. This is one example that explains why.

That fifth grade class had thirty students in it. Half the boys were hyperactive, which probably isn’t the politically correct term to call them but “fuck” that.

Over the years, political correctness has become the language bully.

One boy, James, would attack anyone that stared at him for more than a few seconds. It didn’t matter if the student staring at him was a girl or a boy. His fists started flying.

James could have been America’s secret weapon in Vietnam.

Another example why it is so challenging to teach in America’s public schools may be found at Narcissism at its Best.

Continued in Substitute Teaching is not a “Tea Party” – Part 3 or return to Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

 

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Substitute Teaching is not a “Tea Party” – Part 1/3

During the 1976-77 school year, I subbed daily in a half-dozen school districts during the first semester.

Substitute teaching is not easy.

Whoever called first at five in the morning—that’s where I went.

I taught in Arcadia, Monrovia, San Dimas, Rowland and a few other school districts I’ve forgotten. Most of the time, I worked in Rowland Unified in La Puente, where I interned the previous year.

When teachers knew they were going to be out, they requested me in advance and my calendar quickly filled up.

After the Winter Break, I was called to sub at Romier Elementary for a fifth grade class.


Watch the video and discover what it is like from another substitute teacher more than thirty years later.

The teacher had a heart attack and was in the hospital. Two weeks later, the principal offered me a long-term position for the rest of the year. The regular teacher had died.

I thought I knew the reason. Was I going to be the next victim for these diabolical ten year olds?

I named them the class from Dante’s Inferno, and I worried that this would end in another Oscar or worse—I’d lose my teacher’s credential and might end in jail for murder and mayhem.

Continued in Substitute Teaching is not a “Tea Party” – Part 2

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

 

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A Ten-Year Old Named Oscar (viewed as single page)

After my nine-month internship in a fifth grade classroom, I was not offered a contract to teach full time and had to substitute teach for the next two years.

A ten-year old called Oscar (not his real name) was the reason. It was May 1976, and Ms. Stepp was gone. Instead, a sub was in the room. I was the student teacher. Oscar had an anger issue. He could blow with the force of a five-hundred pound, roadside bomb.

On that particular day, for no reason, Oscar started to use a thick-black marker to draw Xs across the pages in the history textbook used for Yorbita’s fifth grade. As he finished marking a page, he tore it out and tossed it on the floor.


Another teacher’s experience.

The substitute teacher said to stop. Oscar ignored her. Oscar kept marking the large, thick X and tearing the pages out. The students sitting near him knew he was capable of flying into a rage and attacking them so they started to slide their desks away until he was an isolated island.

As I finished this post, I thought of Where are the Parents, a post I wrote at iLook China.

Since I had been in the class as a student teacher since September, I thought Oscar might listen to me. I knelt on one knee at eye level and calmly asked him to stop. He did not make eye contact as he marked another page.

I asked him to hand me the book he was systematically destroying page by page.

Oscar was on a behavior modification contract. When he lost control, he was supposed to leave the classroom and walk home.

The teacher was to call the mother and let her know Oscar was on his way. When Oscar reached home, he was to be isolated in his room until he calmed down. Once calm, he could return to school.

I reached for the thirty-five dollar textbook. He yanked it out of my reach, and his face bloated with anger. “That’s my book,” he said. “Don’t touch it.”

I asked him to come to the office with me. He refused. I went to the phone and called, but the principal was not available.

What I did next was the reason why the principal did not recommend me for a full-time position in the district the next school year.

My next move was to pick Oscar up and carry him to the office.

He fought all the way.

It was like trying to hold onto a live fifty-thousand volt wire. Like a giant anaconda, Oscar twisted, turned, and slugged me in the torso. He knocked my glasses off.

When we reached the office, I called his mother.

On the way back to class, I was fortunate enough to find my glasses undamaged. Later, the principal told me that I shouldn’t have touched Oscar, and that I wasn’t ready to teach full time.

As I was finishing this post, I remembered reading the trauma of joblessness in a Blog about Education and Class. The author wrote, “I’ve read and heard little about how school are helping children to understand what is happening to their parents, how they’re trying to articulate for children the reasons for becoming educated in uncertain times, how they are teaching children to be deeply proud of struggling parents.”

When are most Americans going to wake up and realize that the schools have been so burdened with “powerless parenting” that teachers can’t do the job of teaching reading, writing and arithmetic?

Instead, teachers spend far too much time dealing with the Oscars of the world.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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