I kind of love being a substitute teacher. I know I went to school to be a full time teacher, and I still want that. I love the stability of having the same classroom everyday with the same set of students and knowing what will be on my lesson plan before I get to the classroom. But there is something about the “unknown” in subbing that I quite like. There’s a familiar phrase you hear from the doorway to some unseen figure, “Hey So-and-so has a sub today.” Which is usually met with something like, “Ah, sweet!”
They get so excited, like it’s going to be a party…
But, that usually makes me feel like I need to crack the whip – and that is usually in conflict with my desire to be the sub that students like to have. I don’t need to be a “cool sub,” but it’s nice to have students say hello in the hallway rather than roll their eyes and pray I’m not going to their classroom that day.
I mean, you don’t have to be mean as a sub.It might help, but more flies with honey. In this case, respect is the honey. That and being “real” with the yodel heads that try to stir up trouble.
I was in for a math teacher for a day this week. Usually, when teachers are out they don’t leave new material. This particular teacher has an IB class. IB is, from my understanding, another rigorous course not unlike AP. Eight, yes 8, students walked in. All male. A female TA came in as well. There are only 8 students in this class. They were amazing and so different from one another, but they were all willing to work with and learn from their peers. It was entertaining to hear them talking about the math, discussing how to negotiate the probability questions and reasoning them out into the right answers. It was essentially Greek to me.
At one point during the day the conversation and the way students listen turned the conversation to my not being married and the inevitable question of “why not?” came up. It sounded like someone said it was because I’m only eighteen, which of course I’m not. I’m twenty-six. Haha, but when I asked if that was what they said it was interpreted as being fact. Cat-calls ensued. I was pretty embarrassed.
Frequently, when things like this happen I am reminded of the reasons I wanted to teach and there are often times when I think that this generation isn’t all bad. There are a lot of stories in the news about bullying and, while I’m sure there are incidents that I don’t see, I also see a lot of students encouraging each other. Especially in the IB class and with the volleyball team that I was putting together.
Earlier this week I had interviews. These interviews have been weighing on my mind heavily and I turned to prayer and fasting for guidance and comfort. There are a lot of things that have been on my mind that I felt I needed some guidance and comfort in actually. I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t think that things just randomly happen. I interviewed at a school several weeks ago and did not get the position, but received another phone call in regards to another position at the same school. I interviewed there on Monday and at another school on Tuesday. I didn’t actually feel as good about the Monday as I had when I interviewed with the school originally. Tuesday’s interview felt very natural and I had a good feeling about my experience.
So, imagine my surprise when Thursday at lunch, I received a phone call offering me a job at the school from Monday. I was so excited. I still am, but I guess I feel like something is missing. Not everything on my radar is falling into place the way I had hoped it would.
Life has a tendency to throw curve balls at the least opportune moments. Everything can change in a blink of an eye. And we can choose to be hopeful – to take people at their word – and risk heartache and misery, potentially bitterness. We can choose to be “realistic” and declare everyone to be evil fiends who are out to hurt, ruin, and destroy all the good in the world. Admittedly, sometimes it feels good to give in to that anger. Sometimes it’s great fuel, but it’s not healthy.
Last night, after the excitement of the job offer, the successful volleyball practice with the finalized team, and the dress rehearsal for a silly church play a good little group of us went out for ice cream. We were in the parking lot and this guy, this character – who knew two members of our group, passed by and we somehow initiated a very strange and colorful interaction with him. It was very entertaining, but there were several times when this guy said that we need to stay strong in our faith and build our relationship with God because despite what religion, race or whatever else might be used to define us, we are beautiful people and we can do anything.
I don’t really know what my point is tonight. My mind is rambling and really I’m trying to distract myself. I’ve been writing poems, maybe they’re song lyrics… Reflecting a lot… I was thinking about posting one, but now I’m not sure if I should. It’s interesting how you can go from
IANYWAYS…what’s really been on my mind in relationship to subbing and teaching is that there is a part of me that is scared of having my own classroom and students who are my responsibility. I’m not scared because I don’t think I can do it. I know I can. I’ve been trained for it and now it’s go time.
I’m scared of what it means about my life. I will have so many choices ahead of me. Choosing to take the position means I have to give up my volleyball team. While that’s not the end of the world, and I will likely have more opportunities to coach in the future, it will be sad to tell the girls. Next week, I’ll go in and fill out new hire paperwork and I’ll have to figure out “benefits” for health coverage. Then I will have to figure out what the heck is going on in my classes and learn the names of 150 or so students. I’ll be figuring out BTSA. I’ll have to put my classroom together. Good thing I have a few posters scavenged from student teaching. Perhaps, this will be well timed chaos. Depending on how I, and my car, handle the commute I might have to get a new car or maybe I’ll end up relocating. I guess what I’m really saying is, the realization that I am becoming a REAL adult finally hit me.
I’m embarking on a new adventure. I know my destination, I have my compass, I don’t know what troubles I will face, but I feel like I’m missing my co-pilot.