Wednesday, July 3, 2013

When in doubt, punt!

Without a doubt, one of the worst experiences of subbing was when I arrived with almost no notice in a Kindergarten classroom with no lesson plans.  I take that back, there were lesson plans, but they were so scarce that they consisted of a sticky note on the computer screen.  This was pretty much the way the day continued.  No prep.  No warning.  Scared babies (still new to Kindergarten, and now with a new teacher they did not know).  Annoying parent volunteer who criticized everything the regular teacher did.  Associate who had a sick child, therefore, NO associate.  And of course, ALL 32 kids showed up that day - not a single one was sick that day!

How do you handle 32 barely five-year-olds with no plans?  When in doubt, punt!  Amazing how well a teacher can tell (read) stories when called upon to do so.  So much drama could be found in the Three Little Pigs if one wanted it.  Coloring books became gold that day.  Markers?  SURE!  Today we can use markers in the coloring books!  What?  Ms. _____ doesn't allow you to use markers in  coloring books?  Well, today, we get to do something different!!

Yes, I made it through that day, but I learned that, as a regular teacher, I need to provide really good, clear, detailed lesson plans for MY subs.  I also prepare more than I expect to be utilized; I want there to be no extra time for my students to try the patience of my sub, if at all possible!  Been there, done that!

A day in the life....

7:45 You arrive at the school only to find the secretary is not yet there.  Hmmm....where is the classroom you're supposed to go to?  You walk around the school for a bit, and then it dawns on you, "oh no!  NOT this school!  This is the school that is identical to that other one across town!"  You look around to see if anyone noticed you, and then slip out quietly acting like you knew what you were doing all along.  :)

7:55  You arrive, this time at the RIGHT school, a few moments late, but thankfully no one notices.  You get the job assignment from the secretary and directions to the room.  Sipping your hot coffee, the one you brought from home since you did not know how strong the school coffee might be, you peruse the agenda for the day.  Hmmm....math first, reading second, PE third, then some writing time and that sacred "hour" of the day to a substitute - LUNCH!  After lunch, read to the kids, science - work on a lab of a cocoon and butterfly, then off to Music (another break), back from Music to finish any work undone during the day.  Hmmm...not too bad.  We can do this!"

8:05  Students arrive, one crying because she lost her mitten and her mom's "gonna kill" her.  Another comes in complaining because it is Monday, and he did not get enough sleep as he was up too late playing a video game.  Yet another student whines that "Johnny knocked my books all over the ground!"  Oh yes, it is going to be a reallly long day.....

3:00  Students are finally heading out the door for home.  Whew!  Made it through this day!  What a trying class it was too.  "Ms. A., please come to the office immediately!"  Oh my, what emergency could it be now?  Did a student get on the bus that was supposed to wait for his parents to pick him up?  Did I miss a student's injury at recess?  Entering the office, you are confronted by the secretary with, "Ms. A., where's your sign-in sheet?  I thought I gave you one.  Did I give you one?  I just can't find it!  And today's the last day of the pay period!"  "The sign in sheet is right there, under the parent sign-out sheet."  Another emergency averted!

And the day begins.....

So.  You're sound asleep somewhere on a beach with the water lapping at your feet when your dream is rudely disrupted by the phone at the ungodly hour of 6:00 a.m.  Huh?  The phone?  Who could it be?  You reach for the phone, head not yet cleared from slumber, when it dawns on you that it is your caller for substitute teaching.  You shake your head, trying to focus when you hear, "do you want to accept this job?"  What job?  Oh darn, was it for industrial tech?  Or 3rd grade?  What was that about a field trip?  Oh rats - take it or not?  The money, you could use the money...oh ok.  "Press 1 to accept, press 2 to reject..." (pressing 1).  "Thank you.  You have accepted a job to teach at _______ school, in 3rd grade, for a full day.  Please report to the office by 7:45.  Thank you and have a good day."

There, you're all set.  Subbing again for the 3rd time this week.  Only more day this week, so that's not a bad week at all.  You get up, get ready for work, and head out to meet the mystery that is subbing yet again.