Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day and Night

Last week went really well. I substituted twice, both times for a half day, but they were day-and-night experiences.

Thursday was in the kids' school, in third grade, and it was pretty fun. I actually taught math and writing for the day, and the kids behaved themselves fairly well. No one had to flip their card (they have rainbow-colored cards to chart behavior), and I managed to deal with some crying over hurt feelings / catty behavior at recess without having any of them hate me or each other. I knew three kids in the class because they were siblings of my kids' friends, and I think the fact that one of them, a boy who is an obvious ringleader, has actually played at my house once, was really helpful. I already knew a lot of the staff, and felt comfortable hanging out in the teacher's lounge during lunch. At the end of the day, several people came over to me to ask how everything had gone, and to congratulate me on having a good day.

Friday, I arrived at another nearby school at 11:45 to take over for another sub in a fifth grade classroom. I could hear the children from down the hall as I exited the stairwell, and as I walked over, two of the children came flailing out of the room shouting, 'Are you our substitute?!' The morning substitue flew out the door like she was on fire with nary a word to me after telling one of the girls to 'fill me in'. The 'helpful' girl showed me a schedule written on a piece of paper, which I tried to read as the classroom swirled around me, literally - things were flying through the air, groups of kids were clustered around computer games yelling and cheering. All their shoes were off, and the whole place smelled like a locker-room. Getting the place under control was a struggle, and later that afternoon (after lunch, recess, and the science teacher had come and gone), I wanted to avoid a similar zoo during end-of-day free time, so I said that they had to stay in their seats while I read to them and called them in groups to use the computers. This led to the crowning moment of the day; being called stupid by The Big Class Handfill for sticking to my guns. During the day, none of the other teachers stopped by, no one asked if I needed help, even though the chaos of the morning had been plain for all to hear, and when I had gone into the lounge during lunch to get a snack and a water bottle, I got the feeling that everyone was just staring at me. None of the teachers made any effort to make me feel welcome at recess, and in fact turned their backs to me and talked amongst themselves like I wasn't even there. It was a little like being the dork in high school. Maybe they all thought that I had been there in the morning as well, and was failing abysmally, but that should have been an even greater motivation to say something to me. I'm not feeling so inclined to go to *that* school again, although at least now that I know what to expect from the staff there, if I do it won't be a surprise.

The kids walked home from school by themselves for the first time on Friday, because I wasn't sure I'd be there in time to pick them up, and it went so well that they're going to be walkers from now on. I was so proud of them; they had walked together, exactly as I had asked, and Josie was all ready with her key in her hand, just in case I wasn't here yet. I was so proud of them!

Tomorrow I won't be working, because I have to take my first big trig exam. After that, it's back into the trenches. Ohm.


Stimey said...

Wow. Brutal. But it sounds like you handled it well. Especially for Day Two. Good luck on your test!!

Kelsey said...

Ugh! I have done a LOT of subbing and fortunately I think you'll find that second situation is pretty rare. I only sub in certain schools, there's nothing wrong with that, especially if you aren't necessarily looking to work every single day.

It sounds like you handled things well and I do think you're really going to like it - good job!

Nowheymama said...

I wonder if teaching younger grades in that school would be any better...?

creative kerfuffle said...

congrats on two days under your belt. the first day obviously sounds more fun. what is w/ those teachers at the second school? sometimes people can really be douch canoes.