Tough Week for Teaching

Like most jobs, teaching can run smoothly on average but then throw a challenging week at you. For me, this was one of them.

I am a substitute teacher and the advantage of this is that if I have had a particularly rough day with a group of students, I may not have to face them again the next day. I am not disheartened by challenges: I just know that teachers and students sometimes need a break from each other.

My week started in a class where a boy hit one of his classmates in the face with his binder. He is 9-years-old. The girl who was hit had a red welt below her eye.

In another class, a grade seven student told me to “Shut up!” on two separate occasions. One was directed at me simply because I told him to turn off a laptop on which he was playing a game. The other when he threw open a door in a rage and it hit me and I cautioned him about it.

I am at an age when I take nothing personally any more. I still enjoy going into classrooms and gird myself for any potential problems but the world is a worrisome place when kids think they can solve problems through violence and aggressive confrontations.
Not all children grow from aggressive toddlers to aggressive adults. I’ve seen many change in a positive way.

angry child

But some don’t.

So what happens to the individual who continues using violence and bullying language when he doesn’t get what he wants? I pity the person he’s driving behind on a crowded freeway when he’s in a bad mood.

I wonder how such people would react if placed in a third world country where the children in poverty-stricken areas see going to school as a privilege. I wonder if they would eventually wear down if they had no food in their bellies.

They won’t likely have the chance. Perhaps they’ll never ever see beyond their sense of entitlement.

Am I reading too much into a boy hitting a girl in the face with his binder?


Maybe not.


About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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