Monday, April 19, 2010

Another day in the subbing trenches

The truth is, I do actually value my time as a sub. I often get a lot out of the days I spend in other people's rooms with other people's children teaching other people's lessons. I consider my subbing as paid learning time.

It's not what I wanted. It's not what I planned for or hoped for or paid for a very expensive graduate degree and state credential for. I really hope I can say this is the last month or two I'll ever do it because next year I'll have my own room.

But for now, subbing is what I have. Two days a week I am a substitute teacher. That is that so I may as well get something out of it.

Today I got to sub in a multi-age classroom. I had 4th-6th grade in one class! It was at one of our "alternative" learning style schools in our area. This school has a k-1, a 2-3, and 4-6 classroom. Let me tell you something--this is not something you can learn about in your teacher program and not something you can learn by watching for 30 min with a planned observation and a clipboard! After subbing this year, I really have come to see the value in just stealing a class for a day with an open mind and heart.

Today I saw:

-a classroom that was 1/4 library space
-truly student-ran class jobs
-group work done in... groups!
-classroom completely cleaned and tidied by the students, including vacuuming, in 5 minutes.
-more parents than I've seen all year combined
-test prep
-class meeting

There were negatives too. I wonder how the sixth graders will fare at junior high next year, when they will be thrust into the land of 7th &8th graders having only been exposed to multi-age classes for 7 years? Will they be ok when they have to go the whole day without ever seeing a parent volunteer? And what would I have done if there wasn't a teacher's aid AND a parent volunteer all day? Who paid for that aid in a district that only provides aids for K-1?

I dunno. A part of me thought this kind of job fit my teaching style perfectly. I actually felt like my day went really fabulously. But then another part of me, the cynic, thought... well shoot this isn't real life. Real life is test scores and 55min class periods in junior high and bozo parents and do these kids know algebra yet?

Meanwhile, in the land of music, Spring Sing is in 2.5 weeks!!! I'm terrified. There, I said it. I think the whole thing might be a total disaster. I found a dress to wear, so that problem is solved... I can't tell if I'm excited or nervous or... eeep. I think nervous.

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