My Run in with the Substitute


I’m not sure if I am the one feeling embarrassed more or if the substitute teacher is when she alerted me to Bugs ongoing misbehaving in class this week. No mom ever wants to hear her child was misbehaving in school. I feel most mothers like to think their children act appropriately away from them as they have taught their spawn to respect and listen to the teacher in class. This morning after I started to walk away from Bug’s room I heard the sub push past Bug telling him she needed to talk to me. I admit I sorta started picking up speed trying to get Diva and SB down the hall. I knew it couldn’t be good if a sub wanted my attention. Why couldn’t she keep crap to herself and just report it to the teacher next week? I am sure after she told me what was going on she felt the same way.

Sub: Mom? Can I talk to you real quick? I just wanted to let you know that your son has been acting out in class. He has been playing with his hands, taking his shoes and socks off, not sitting still in his seat and it is causing him to miss directions and fall behind on his work.

Me: That sounds about right. Have you been repeating the directions to him personally after talking with the class?

Sub: Why should I? He needs to learn to pay attention more and follow directions the first time I give them.


My first instinct was to say a smart arse comment, “well, how do you think a child with ASD and ADHD should act?”. Next, I thought maybe I should just agree to talk to Bug after school about his behavior and finish getting Diva to her class. I really didn’t know what to say. I was taken a back and shocked. Did she really expect him to simply just act like the rest of the class? I mean, I do have high expectations for our children regardless of their diagnosis; however, I also know their limitations. Sitting still for more than one minute exceeds Bugs limitations on lack of movement. A part of me wanted to cry as I stood there trying to maintain my composure to this ladies blatant ignorance on the personality traits on a child with ASD and ADHD. I still have an issue with excepting reality and the fact that there are visual differences in my child verse that of a normal 6 year old. Instead of putting her on the spot, I did a little sugar coating with the situation.

Me: Because of Bug’s diagnosis of ASD and ADHD it is often hard for him to control his movements. If his standing while working does not disturb the other students, please let him stand to do work. Once you are done explaining the directions to the entire class, please repeat them face to face with Bug and ask him to repeat them back. This should helps some. Otherwise, this is his normal self. We must do our best to help him.

Sub: He has ASD? I was never told that.


I immediately got the “deer in the headlights” look. She didn’t know? The teacher had not informed her? Sigh. The sub had been there all week. I am assuming she has been irritated with him and his behavior and letting him know. Now his comments from this weeks school experience makes sense. He kept telling me he kept getting warnings and had to move his name on different lights all week. I had been asking him why and his kept telling me he was fiddling with this and messing with that. I explained to him how he needed to listen to the teacher. He said “yea, because I’m a bad kid”. Another sigh. I told him that wasn’t true and that not listening would mean he was missing out on how to do his work.

I don’t think I handled the situation in the best way, but it is better than my sarcasm I usually dish out belittling the receiving person in the process. It is never easy to face the facts and deliver the truth. However, at some point, both will have to be done.

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