I survived my first month of substitute teaching. I’ve always loved kids but being in the classroom is challenging. As much as you’d like to show you care, your head is spinning. Every second you turn your back, someone or a group are running around the room, drawing on the board, getting into supplies or crawling under desks.
I started at the end of April. The school year is almost over. Students have no fear and the regular teacher is out of the room. According to the lesson plan, kids know exactly how to behave and use the pins, color charts, tickets or whatever the behavior system is. There are also the claps, lights or phrases. Then, the day actually begins.
Each day is a new school, grade and adventure. Middle school may include an all day lock down due to a shooting threat. These soon to be high schoolers still throw pencils, roam around the room and talk over you the entire time so you can’t hear the announcements or respond when the office is calling on the phone.
Second through sixth grade is a little better. Kids are old enough to do things for themselves but not mean yet. They are just very chatty.
Kindergarten and first grade are cute but exhausting. While you try to comfort the one crying, another is tattling and you hear something across the room being destroyed.
Special education feels more relaxing because it is a smaller group and you can give more concentrated attention to their needs.
After all these adventures come the promotion celebrations in which they sing their songs, look adorable and make their parents proud.
Initially, there doesn’t seem to be much interaction with other teachers or staff. In the morning and afternoon, you check in and out with the office. It lasts about a second. Grab your key and go in the morning. Turn in your key in the afternoon and move for the crowd coming through.
Aides come for a bit in the morning and at time to go. They go from room to room. Other teachers don’t seem to acknowledge you. I had one who did. Her daughter was in my class. It’s a start. I’m hoping as students and staff get to know me next year, things will get a little friendlier.
For now, I like the freedom of schedule, independence and the opportunity to see what I can make of it. Who knows, maybe I’m becoming a teacher-in-training.