Supervising My Wife…and Others!

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                        February 27, 2017

                               

My new career as a substitute teacher had a new twist to it last week. I was my wife’s supervisor…yes, her boss! I watched her every move, yelled at her constantly, told her exactly what she needed to do…NO!

I was subbing for the teacher of the special needs students’ classroom. About eight para-professionals who work with the students looked to me for direction…and did not receive it!

They went about their routines and responsibilities and I just kind of hung around and tried not to get in the way. They were all highly-skilled women who showed extreme patience with the students with special needs and limitations. One of the students got a grasp of the hair of a para. She patiently and gently untangled his fingers from her hair. Another student had an expletive-laced episode and his para calmly reminded him such language was not acceptable, and then, without missing a beat, got him focused on the academic work he was to do.

Amazing women doing an extremely difficult job for limited compensation! Amazing women who treat their students with care and respect, give hugs when needed, stern direction when necessary, and encouragement constantly.

And so I was the teacher! One of the days I led the students and their sidekicks in “adaptive physical education.” We played a version of dodgeball that I came up with called “The Fox and The Hounds.” The dodge balls were small and soft, the students sat on floor scooters, and I encouraged them to throw their dodge balls at the two “peer partner” students. In other words, they were to be the hounds “chasing the foxes.” One student who is immobile and wheelchair-bound also became the target. He squealed in delight at being included in the chase as his para pushed him around the gym in his chair.

The paras let me lead that experience, but they made it happen. They made it an enjoyable time of recreation for the students.

For the rest of that day I stood in the background and watched those I was “the boss” of do their thing. I saw autistic students figuring out problems, strong-willed students having face-offs with their paras who would not back down from the tasks that needed to be accomplished. I saw paras helping students into the bathroom, and I was thankful that such a responsibility was outside my qualifications. I saw students being re-taught how to feed themselves- a process that was being re-learned for the hundredth time!

The evening after I was my wife’s boss I saw her with a new appreciation. She has always had a heart for children and youth, graduating from TCU with a degree in deaf education, teaching deaf pre-schoolers, working with kids at church, and, for the last several years, coming alongside special needs students at our middle school. She is amazing and I will never, ever, never really be her boss!

Explore posts in the same categories: children, Humor, marriage, Parenting, Story, Teamwork, Uncategorized, Youth

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