Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stepping (or leaping!) into Subbing

It's been an awfully long time since I posted anything, but the last month has lacked in teaching stories because I haven't been teaching.  I finished up my student teaching placement December 14th, which was bittersweet for sure.  I was more than ready to (finally) graduate and get on with my life however I had the most perfect student teaching situation I could have asked for.  The teachers and administrators I worked with were incredibly supportive and there wasn't a single time I felt uncomfortable in that placement.  My students needs were varied and I was able to work with all kinds of students (behavioral, learning disable, Autistic, etc.) and I loved each and every one of them for different reasons.  Eventually I had to leave however and although I planned on subbing soon after I was excited for a bit of a break.

I'd been getting things together to submit a subbing application since the end of December and on January 16th, around noon, I submitted everything.  Incredibly just four hours later I had a phone call and was asked to sub in a classroom in Cranston the following day!! The teacher would actually be out for 3 days and I was offered (and accepted) all of them.  I've spent two days subbing now and while I still have a lot to work on I can at least say all of the students survived :)

Here goes a list of a few things I've learned:
1. Teacher assistants are weird.  I have two in this placement (it's a special ed. room) and while one is extremely helpful I feel like one is practically with holding information.... For example, a student asks to go to the bathroom, I let him, and after he leaves the room she informs me he doesn't usually go to the bathroom without another responsible student because sometimes he fools around.  Well why on earth wouldn't she have told me that before I let him go??  I understand she may be trying not to step on my toes but as a substitute who doesn't know anything about these students it seems silly not to step in at a time like that.

2. Don't form an opinion about a student until you've met them.  The first day I subbed one particular student was out, and everyone told me how lucky I was that I got to get used to the classroom without him.  At the ripe age of 11 this student was described as a "street thug" who was mouthy and had no respect for authority.  Needless to say I was crossing my fingers he was still sick the next day (as horrible as that sounds).  Friday rolled around and I heard from an aid that the student had returned. I made a decision that I would treat him kindly in hopes that I'd give him no reason to treat me poorly.  Well for one reason or another this street thug and I got along smashingly.  Everything I asked him to do was performed with a smile, or a "sure!" and I honestly couldn't believe that this was the student everyone warned me about.  Yes there were a few times he called out and interfered with another student when he should have minded his own business but he turned out to be my favorite student in the class.  The things he said were absolutely hysterical, and I finally had a student who understood my sarcasm!!  Just another reminder you shouldn't judge someone until you've met them.

3. When teaching in the city you live in, expect to know half the teachers in the building.  I kid you not, after two days in the building I found out that I have some sort of connection to 7 of the teachers/faculty working there.  You never know where a friend from elementary school's mother will pop up.

4. People get really surprised when you say you dropped your paperwork to substitute off less than 24 hours ago.  I guess I was right in thinking the turn around time there was pretty fast...

I'll keep you posted on the highs and lows of subbing... so far it's been a good experience but there are plenty of horror stories out there that you'll all have the pleasure of reading about :)

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