I began an interesting chapter in the story of my life last week, when I did substitute teaching for the first time. It was a crazy experience; I was thrown into a bit of a crucible. All the third grade teachers were having a conference, so it was all substitutes standing in front of a number of third graders with no safety net.
Third grade is an important year. Studies show that a child who completes third grade without a proficiency in reading is more likely to leave high school without graduating. And, frankly, there were kids in my class who weren’t quite there with their reading yet. My heart breaks for them a bit. And for the teachers.
Teachers face a lot of hurdles: inadequate funding, disengaged parents, kids with learning disabilities. And somehow they have to form these kids into proficient readers who are ready to learn. It’s difficult.
Since I was only going to be there one day, I had to connect with them somehow, so when I introduced myself, I mentioned my love of tabletop gaming! Many of them told me that they loved board games!
I promised them that if they listened, I’d show my dice (which I carry with me in my satchel), and my Pokemon deck (which I brought with me to show them).
It actually ended up working great! When some of them didn’t want to read, I’d mention my dice or my deck, which would quickly get them back on track.
It ended up being a great day. The kids were rowdy, but nice. I got to show my dice off (many remarked at how pretty they were), and they all approved of my Volcanion Pokemon deck. I even ended up getting a hug at the end of the day.
All generations love games; I was glad to share my passion with these kids as I assisted in a small way with their education.