Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My First Sub Job, Part IV

The Friedrich thing started in study hall. He was out of his seat. I told him he needed to go sit down and get to work.

Freidrich was a tall, tall kid who moved syrup-slow. He strolled up to me and stood close enough to show me that he towered over me. And then he looked down. “You know what we do to teachers who give us homework,” he whispered.

I flew by the seat of my pants then. Maybe I always do. My pants launched me forward, toward Friedrich. I grabbed his arm and grinned up at him. “I bet you send us thank you notes for helping you to get so smart that you go on to get wonderful jobs and live happy lives,” I said.

I will never forget the corners of Friedrich’s mouth, the way they twitched and then slowly, slowly turned up and broke first into a grin, and then a laugh. An indulgent laugh. Friedrich was humoring me. Giving me a break.

Which was okay with me. I desperately needed one.

We walked, the two of us, arm in arm, back to Friedrich’s seat. And he indulged me again by sitting down.

From then on, Friedrich was my ally. A very valuable ally. He was big and commanding and popular with the other kids. If I told someone to sit down, Friedrich made sure they did. “Miss G says sit down,” he would rumble, and they would sit down.

I took it.

(Next week: Part V)

For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. ~Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


  1. Never let them see you sweat, even when your arm pits are dripping and your knees are knocking. You handled Freidrich very well.

  2. Have you ever read "Up the Down Staircase," a book written decades ago but still true?

    It's amazing how humor can smooth things out. What a gutsy young thing you were. I would not have been so fast on my feet--at least thinking-wise. I think my feet would have been fast in another way...

  3. That's just the kind of remark my son would make to a student. He also tells them, "If my mouth is moving, you should be taking notes."

    Love this series!!!!

  4. In desperate situations, it helps to have an ally!

    Critter Alley

  5. Teacher AND psychologist! My daddy was (literally) both of those things, and he would have loved your methodology.

  6. And what color was the seat of your pants after you flew in them? :)

    Nice move teach! Thank you for the kind comments lately.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  7. He was a good one to have on your side. Thanks to your quick thinking you made him an ally.


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