Today I did my first substitute teaching assignment – a great flexible job for a cyclist. I subbed in an emotional support classroom for 7 boys in 1st and 2nd grade. When I walked in this morning before the kids got to school, I was warned by the teaching assistant and 2 in-class therapists that it was going to probably be a rough day. This particular school is fully equipped to handle a wide range of emotional and developmental issues and has a deescalation room (read, padded room where kids can violently outburst without hurting others and themselves).
It was expressed to me that the hardest things for these kids to handle are transitions – transitions from one subject to another, one room to another, and especially to a new teacher or authority figure. But, the day went incredibly smoothly. The children took to me, and I took to them. I was told by the other regular staff that the kids took to me unusually well and it was one of the easiest days they had had in a while – despite it being a Monday, usually the worst day because of the transition from the weekend!
I think it’s because I often find little pieces of myself in these children that have so much missing in their life and I think they can feel that. Kids are incredibly perceptive. Way more than adults.
So, as I transition from one season to the next, from one training period to the next, and as I aspire to transition into higher levels of cycling, I hope I can handle my own transitions in the same graceful way my students today handled several transitions that they often find insurmountable.