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My triumphant return to the classroom

I spent the past two days substitute teaching, something I had not done since Bill Clinton was little more than a year into his first term.

When I found out Tuesday that I would be subbing, I was at once scared and excited. Scared because I had done this before and I know how kids can be (as high schoolers, I know how we were around subs). And excited because it seemed like a good first step to jump back into the teaching pool (well, perhaps a second step; vacation Bible school was more like a first step).

So how was it? Overall, I call it a success. I might even call it great. I managed to teach social studies to 5th through 8th graders, which is quite a feat, considering I hated social studies back in the day. Religion proved to be a little less challenging since I have been going to church for nearly 38 years now. In all the classes I knew most of the answers (usually thanks to the answer key, which was sadly missing for a couple of classes). And I managed to come up with some activities for several classes. What I did not know, I told the students, reminding them it had been years before I had read about the stuff. Considering some of them could not retain something I had read to them five minutes before, I'd like to think they were understanding of my plight as a former English teacher.

The downside was each day I had one really awful, disrespectful class. Yesterday, I must have raised my voice and told the 5th grade class to quiet down no less than 20 times. This morning that class was read the riot act by their homeroom teacher and they subsequently turned into little angels when they arrived at class 10 minutes later and greeted me with several rounds of "we're sorry." It is amazing what the threat of no recess for three weeks can do. Today it was sixth grade's turn to be rude. Threatening them with calling their parents did not seem to work. I chose to write down their bad behavior and can only hope their teacher will talk to them. I promise next time I will do better with the really tough classes.

I want there to be a next time. Sure it was exhausting and frustrating at times. And the pay is nothing to write home about. But standing in front of those kids and teaching them was something I did not realize how much I had missed. At times, I felt as if I belonged there.

And to me, that is triumphant.


chris h. said…
You go, girl! Everyone remembers their teachers and their influence on our lives -- for better or worse. It's awesome that you are getting back to it -- our kids need more good teachers!
Facie :-) said…
Next time came sooner than I expected--this morning. This time I had kindergarten.

For these classes, I did not have to "cram" prior to the class, which I appreciated. Plus the kids are cuter and not disrespectful. But most are chatty, some cry a lot, and a few really should not even be there academic-wise.

All in all, I consider it another success and I am still looking forward to going back!

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