I was a substitute teacher for a different kindergarten class today. I loved it! These kids were great. They were pleasant and responsive when I asked them to do things.
Most importantly, I feel like I made a difference. Some of the kids were looking for acceptance and approval and I was able to give them that.
One little boy needed help down from a piece of playground equipment because he had climbed too high.
And I was there for the poor little boy who was in tears at lunch. A boy put his hand up at lunch and he and another boy waved me over. They were first or second graders. They told me their friend was crying and upset. I asked where he was because I didn’t see any little boy crying. Turns out he was under the cafeteria table.
I asked what was wrong. The boy choked out that he turned around to talk to a boy at the table behind him, and one of the other lunch monitors yelled at him. I told him that it was very loud in the cafeteria and perhaps the lady was frustrated because of this. I suggested that he could talk to the person behind him some other time and talk to the boys at his table right now instead.
The upset little boy still had tears running down his face and trouble speaking because he was crying so hard. He tearfully told me that no one wanted to be his friend or talk to him. By now, the boy sitting beside him had had his arm around him for some time. I told the crying boy that I thought he did have friends that cared about him. Two boys had been concerned enough to call me over to help. And they had been watching with concern and trying to interpret to me what happened. The boys all looked at each other and smiled. Things were looking up as I patted the upset little boy on the back and walked away.
I checked back about ten minutes later. Things seemed to be going pretty well. The boys seemed to be getting along. I had the feeling that all the boys did care about each other. Still, I thought I would share a joke I had learned from another kid at school. What does a duck eat? Quackers! The boys cracked up with laughter.
The boy who had originally been so upset laughed with glee. I had the feeling that I was exactly where I was supposed to be today. Making a difference.
Subbing has been an up and down journey for me this week. Yesterday, I had decided I was never going back! My subbing assignment was for a full day as intervention specialist at the high school level. Since I had enjoyed this position at the elementary level, I thought high school would be fine too. Not so much!
Some of the kids were interested in doing their work and just needed a little guidance, or maybe some quiet and structure. Some were so interested in being cool that they didn’t get much done. They were probably afraid that the assertive kids would heckle them for wanting to do their work.
And then, there was that one kid who outright refused to do any work. When he told me he didn’t have a computer and I made a phone call so he could go get one, he said, I’m not doing it. Ok then. This is also the same kid who wanted to have a political discussion with me about who is the best presidential candidate. Not going there. And he managed to mention the word penis and get some of the other boys saying penis for three periods in a row. I finally asked him if he was having a problem since he kept making penis references. He did stop after that. This was about the time I decided I was never going back and that I wasn’t cut out for this teaching thing.
Then, this morning I kept getting notifications that the system needed subs. They had around seven teachers out. I’m not even sure they have that many subs. And I began to feel guilty. They needed me and here I was sitting at home. So I took a half day job. At least it was some help.
So, this afternoon I taught kindergarteners for the first time. They were awesome! You can probably tell that the photo above is from today with the kindergarteners. They are loud and talk a lot, but it’s because they don’t know any better. Some of the older grades I have taught are loud and talk a lot but it’s because they don’t care or are being belligerent.
We used scissors, glue, pencils, and crayons. We added, colored, read, and played games. Wow, most of it was fun. I always thought I did better with older kids, but I may have been wrong. I really enjoyed this age. They were innocent and at least tried to do what I asked.
I will definitely be teaching kindergarten again. In fact I am signed up for another class of them tomorrow!
I didn’t sign up for any substitute teaching jobs last week. I did have one today. I signed up for third grade but got switched to where I was needed-fifth grade.
Oh my goodness, they never stop talking. I am seeing a pattern here. In three of the four subbing assignments I have had so far, the students talk all during class, and loudly. I would say this is students giving the substitute teacher a hard time.
I am not quite sure what to do about this, but I will figure it out. Aside from the requisite asking them to be quiet in many ways, I threatened to take away points they earn for good behavior, to leave a note for their teacher, etc. I reassigned some seats to separate those who needed it. Did you know kids these days have the technology to make their computers repeat what you say? Oh, joy.
I was thanked for switching teaching assignments and told they could use me every day. I think a couple days a week might be my limit. There are always a few reliable kids who help me out. God bless them!
This was my second day of substitute teaching ever. Today was a full day of second graders. The kids were sweet, and very helpful. But they NEVER STOPPED TALKING! I was administering standardized testing for half of the morning. I asked them to stop talking. They didn’t. I firmly told them to stop talking and asked why I still heard talking. The volume reduced but there was still talking. I told sternly told them to stop talking and explained that this was individual testing, not group testing, and they were bothering their neighbors while they took the test. The talking momentarily stopped. Then I heard the following comments, each from a different individual: I know, I can’t hear when he’s talking. They shouldn’t be talking, they aren’t allowed to talk. I told him to be quiet. They know not to talk. Etc. So we had talking about not talking.
And then there was the “can I go to the bathroom?” and “can I go to the drinking fountain and get a drink?” I must have heard each of these about 20 times during the course of the day. Add to that, trying to figure out how to make the computer display on the classroom screen, and where all the various supplies were located. Whew!
The photo taken above was before I left for school this morning. The photo below is me after lunch. Did I mention I had cafeteria duty?
I hope that building up a tolerance to the younger kids constant talking and demands will happen quickly.
There are good times too. Like reading a book about the Titanic to the kids and seeing them sit with rapt attention to hear what happened next. And watching the joy on a face when they get the right answer.
What really makes it all worthwhile? The one little boy who ran up to me after he returned from art class in another room, gave me a hug and said he missed me.
It’s back to school for me. Except this time, I’m the teacher!
As one of my new job options that I’m exploring, I am working as a substitute teacher. Today was my first day. I had 7th graders and it went pretty well. I do tend to like kids this age. I started with an assignment that was only a half day. I thought this would break me in slowly and give me time to take care of that pesky, mandatory paperwork that every job requires.
My subject was English and the teacher prepared well for her absence and left instructions for what the kids were to do. The morning passed with me receiving only one eye-roll and only having to say once “please don’t assault your classmate”. (This was just a couple kids good-naturedly snapping each other with their fingers, no real violence.)
Tomorrow I am giving 2nd grade a try. I’m sure this will be quite different so we’ll see how I like it. I think I will enjoy the kids and this is part of my “give them all a try” plan. One nice aspect is the school day is much shorter than what I was used to working as a scientist. I am only there for seven hours and this includes lunch.
After spending a full day in the class room tomorrow, I will let you know if seven hours still seems to be a shorter time!
After I retired from my job of 32+ years as an Environment Scientist, I always knew that I would move on to something else. I just wasn’t sure what it would be. I decided that my best move would be to try everything! You only live once, right?
Then I took a test to be an on-line proofreader. I need to do a little brushing up on my grammar before I can pursue that option. I will continue to pursue it.
Another career option is, I have always wanted to write a book. So I started doing it! This will take a while and any pay off would be quite a way down the road. I am writing two books so I can switch back and forth between them depending on which one I am in the mood to work on. Both are non-fiction and I am drawing on my life experiences to write them.
Recently, I checked into the possibility of taking a position with a group that has you take a working border collie and chase geese off of airport runways, golf courses, etc. for their clients. The current opening is too far away for me, but I did fill out an application in case they have a position open up nearer to my home.
One of the other options I had considered was teaching. So, tomorrow will be my first assignment as a substitute teacher! I am very excited. This photo was a few years ago when Shelby & I were volunteering to read books to kindergarteners for an hour each month. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to this new job tomorrow. Unfortunately, Shelby will be at home.
My first class will be middle schoolers. I like to work with this age group as they develop their personalities and discover who they are. There is a chance to affect their lives and motivate them. I plan to try a class with each grade at some point to discover just which age group I prefer to work with. I’m sure they all have their positives.
I do not know what I will end up focusing on in the long run, but I am enjoying the journey. I still have other options to try. Life has so many possibilities and opportunities that I can’t decide where to point my energy. I know I will figure it out. The process is the point of this journey.