07 January 2011

The Perils of Substitute Teaching

For the last two days, I've been substitute teaching.  On these days, I get up at about 5am so I can feed everyone, including Maggie who is still eating off a syringe, and arrive at the location on time.  Today, I had to be at the school at 7:30am which is nice since I didn't leave home until 6:45am.  Some of the middle schools require subs to show up at 7:15am and most are further away, so I have to leave at 6am.

The assignment was "Roving Substitute", which translates normally to mean I get to the school without any idea of what subject(s) or what teacher(s) I'm subbing.  This position is used to fill in for a teacher who called in sick that morning or for a teacher whose classes have a reputation for problems.  Occasionally, this can also mean there is no specific assignment because the school had enough subs show up so you fill in period by period where you are needed or as a second teacher in a classroom.

Today was a bit different.  The school was having departmental training sessions, so in the morning, I taught English II and in the afternoon Biology.  The nice thing was the teachers had notice of this training so the two teachers I subbed for had prepared nicely -- instructions, seating charts, materials.  The bad parts were the kids knew about the absences so some came in 'excited' to have a sub and most of the students were sophomores. (Remember, sophomore literally means "wise fool".)  The morning went well -- most students worked and no one caused problems.

The afternoon I knew was going to be interesting because the teacher had warned me about her challenging 6th period.  Compared to other classes, 6th wasn't all that bad.  The real problem was most students didn't want to do anything.  Okay, I can live with that.  The problem is they then get bored and start doing things -- usually stupid things.  One girl decided not to work and instead make cell phone calls.  Students are allowed to have cell phones, but not allowed to use them in class -- school rules.  She refused to put it away, started talking back to me, and then walked out of class early.  She left me no choice but to write her up, so now she'll get suspended for a day.  I really don't understand what goes on in some students' brain!

But overall, it was a good day.  Most of the classes were fine, most of the students were okay, and I ended up working an extra class, so I get an extra $15.

Unfortunately, I've come home exhausted both days.  Part of the problem is I'm just not used to getting up so early.  Over Christmas break, I started getting up at 7am, so 5am is a very rude shock.  Another part of the problem is I'm not used to being on my feet all day.  Again, it was Christmas break -- this time my lack of movement.  And still another part of the problem is the stress of subbing.  Remember, I go into classes not knowing if there are sub plans, if the students are nice or out of control, or sometimes what classes I'll be doing.  Then I have to deal with up to 45 students in a class, many who don't want to be there.

Needless to say, I haven't done any art.  I'm not happy with that.  I had visions of doing 1-2 hours when I got home or in the evening, but it's not happening.  I am hoping that given time, I'll adjust enough to the subbing that I will be able to do art at night.  Until then, it looks like I'll be doing my art only on weekends, when there are a hundred other things to do.

And now, off to bed!!!

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