Monday, February 15, 2010

Subbing -- The First 100 Days

This week is the 100th day of school. I have worked 75 days, and considering I didn't get added to the sub list until the 15th day of school, I think that is pretty successful.

I have subbed in 3 districts, numerous schools, kindergarten through 12th grade. Music, PE, special ed, regular classrooms, behaviorally challenged, adult special ed transition center and more. I have gone into classrooms with elaborately laid out plans, uber-organized teachers, classrooms with no plans at all, unorganized teachers -- it has run the gamut.

And I have really loved it all. I really have loved the kids in every classroom. Sure they aren't always perfect, but I'm not either.

I was really petrified to sub. I thought of all the scary stories I have heard. I was so crushed not to have my own class. I was worried about getting jobs. I worried about kids treating me terribly, misbehaving, not knowing what I was teaching.

I am so glad that I have been able to sub this year. It has taught me so much . My classroom management skills are improving every day. I am still trying to determine if I go into a class and the kids are good for me, is it because of the regular teacher and the systems they have in place? Or is it me? Alternatively, if the class is crazy and I really need to come down hard on them is it the regular teachers lack of something or is it me? What can I do when I am a classroom teacher to have those well behaved classrooms? Or are the kids the variable? Maybe that teacher just has a tough group this year? Or maybe the kids are having a bad day, or maybe I am. I have yet to figure that out.

My motto this year has been taking risks. Stretching, growing, trying new things - taking all sorts of classroom jobs I wouldn't normally try.

When I was student teaching I would get so nervous, sweating, sure I was going to do something to ruin their lives forever. I have gained a great deal of confidence in being in front of the kids too. The biggest thing for me is learning to admit when I don't know something or if I have made a mistake. Being in so many classrooms, where I don't now the routines, the habits, the rules -- I make lots of mistakes. The kids are always very helpful and understanding. Why wouldn't they be? If I see someone makes a mistake, I try to helpful and understanding. I don't expect everyone to be perfect. Why shouldn't the kids see that I am human. It has been a relief.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Getting Together

Perhaps if we get together we can keep our heads above water with this work thing. What do you think? Isn't it time for a lunch together?

Subbing Snafus

I also have had this problem. I thought I had everything in place to sub in my kid's school district-I did finish the application process back in June and find that they have closed the sub pool. This is in spite of the fact that I know teachers that would like to hire me and told me to give them my number. I was told to call back in Oct and perhaps the situation will be changed. Then I tried to get on the sub website to look at jobs with the district that I was told I was already on the sub list for only to find that they have changed the system and my log in now longer works. So now I have an email to the woman in charge of substituting and hopefully will find out that this is a glitch in the system. Today I spent 3 hours reapplying in their new system-which includes them sending out new recommendation requests to my same references-they have already filled out forms for THE SAME SCHOOL DISTRICT! Ugh!

Friday, August 21, 2009


It is even hard to get called up for sub jobs right now in the great Northwest. The district I would really like to work at, where my kids go to school, is only accepting sub applicants if you have a special ed, music or PE Endorsement, or secondary math or science endorsements. Most of my fellow graduates that I have talked to haven't heard any information about subbing either.

I decided to be proactive, and went to visit the human resources dept in person to find out what I needed to do to at least get on the sub list. I was prepared to beg, to give them my first born child, offer up my kidney, just to get on the sub list. You think I jest, but with a husband who has been without a job since February, and the teacher job market the way it is, I really want a job. So after talking to the ladies there, I only had to ask and plead a little bit( I think I was I little pathetic so they took pity on me. Amazingly they didn't want my first born or my kidney.) They said if I could get a principal in the district to request an override for me, they would enter me into the system.

Next step -- offering up my kidney or first born to the principal I know the best to see if she would add me. Luckily, she couldn't use either of them , and took pity on my as well. I would love to say that they were all dazzled by my stunning resume, my numerous accomplishments, my inner light shining through, and my desire to teach which made them realize that they just had to have me. However, since I don't have anyone banging down my door to come teach full time for them, I'm thinking not.

So while I still haven't given up hope of getting my own classroom, I am trying to wrap my arms around subbing. Frankly I am terrified. I remember having subs when I was a kid. The stories you hear from your own kids. The jokes, the lack of respect, the pranks... am I tough enough to make sure they listen and respect me? And never knowing what you are going to teach? Not having days or weeks to think out how you are going to present something? Not knowing which kid needs extra help in which area.

So I am doing the same thing I do whenever I have something new in my life that scares me. I am researching it. I have books on subbing requested at the library and at Paperbackswap , i have been looking up websites and reading all sorts of tips I can find. Next I will start asking friends who teach all about subbing. Will educating myself help my fear? Only time will tell.

Monday, August 10, 2009

back to school --

I have decided I am like a woman who has just found out she is pregnant. I go out and longingly look at school supplies instead of baby clothes. I look at the stickers and pencils, put them in my cart, reasoning that they will be good for any age. No matter if I get a job teaching first or fifth, I can use stickers and pencils.

Then I move onto books. This one looks good. I can envision future students picking up the books, lovingly looking through it, eagerly reading it, wanting the next book by that author or in that series. But like the woman who doesn't know yet whether to buy the blanket in pink or blue, I put it back on the shelf, because I don't know yet what grade I may get.

I look at storage totes, I could buy those for my future classroom, with the plan of putting pencils and scissors and supplies for the students to share. I look at wall posters, and teacher-type decorations. Should I start a theme? What sort of theme will my future classroom have? Like the new mother's dreams of how to decorate the nursery. Again, she wonders, should I wait until I know whether it is a boy or girl, or decorate in green and yellow? Should I wait till I find out how old, or decorate in sealife or rainforest?

What about furniture? Bookshelves are safe --teachers always need bookshelves right? But what if I don't get that class I am dreaming of? What if I wind up subbing for awhile? Do I want to store bookshelves or desks for a future classroom?

So I buy school supplies for my kids, secretly inhaling the smell of new pencils and crayons, buy some safe school supplies for my future classroom and secrete them away in the garage with the rest of my "saving for when I become a teacher" stuff. I resist buying anything tied to a certain age for now.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Solo Teaching

I am spending more time in the classroom on my own. It is great, and scary. I am finding I have a tendency to over plan my weeks. I have too much stuff to do, and too little time to accomplish everything. I feel like I should be able to cover things in more depth, so they really understand it. My Master Teacher says I need to remember they are second graders, in many of these things we are introducing them to the concept, and they will go into more depth in future years.

It is hard to remember that. I want to cram so much into their little heads in such a short period of time!

And in addition to wanting to learn everything about one subject, I want to do this with every subject. It is funny. In school we talked about including health, art, music, drama, social studies, nonfiction and fiction texts, poetry in addition to the reading,writing and math. How? It is so hard to find the time to squeeze everything in! I find myself struggling with whether it is better to cover a lot about a little, or a little about a lot. In my head I know how important all those things are, but I find myself having a whole new empathy for teachers who let those things slip through the cracks.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First Week Full Time Student Teaching

So I am done with my first full week of student teaching. (YAY!) Part of me is so excited to be there every day, part of me was exhausted and longing for the week to be over. Of course I was battling a terrible cold all week, and the kids and I could really tell when the cold medicine was starting to wear off, as I became more stuffy and more hoarse as the hours ticked by. It is nice to see the entire weeks routine. When I was just there two days a week, there is just so much that you miss out on.

We started the week with a sub, which turned out was a great transition. I taught all day, and the kids came to me instead of the sub. That really set the tone for the rest of the week, and I see the kids coming to me and asking questions now almost as often as my Master Teacher. Listening to some of the other interns struggling with having the students give them respect and listen to them makes me really appreciate having that boost.

We had conferences this week, which seemed to go well. I am still not sure how I will handle conferences next year. It is a bit intimidating. I did get a huge compliment from a mom whose son is a special ed student. She said she really appreciated that I treated her son like a regular kid, she started crying as she talked about previous experiences. It really makes you realize that these little ones are somebodies baby, they are special to someone, and we should never forget that.

I am taking over the science -- starting with insects! Love those bugs!! I am bringing in ladybugs, walking stick bugs, and caterpillars. It will be so much fun. I checked out a TON of insect bugs from the library and propped them up all over the place. The kids loved them. During silent reading time they all were reading all about bugs, even the girls! I can't wait till the get to see the walking stick bugs. They are so crazy looking.

How did everyone else's first week go?