Monday, April 09, 2007

This weird week in teaching

Last week proved to be extremely interesting for me. Last weekend I was at the Emerald City Comic Convention, so I was happy to take a half day job at the junior high up the road, filling in for a teacher I'd subbed for many times before. That gave me a little more resting time Monday morning. But something wasn't right. I was so wiped out that I actually went back to sleep for a while before heading out there, and it didn't seem to help. I knew something was up, but I thought I could handle it. Walking up there, I nearly turned around and went home at least three times, but stupid pride and poverty kept me going. Once I got there, I was quickly whisked into a social studies room, where they needed me to supervise for a few minutes, before I took the science classes. Since the science teacher I was subbing for had her prep then and my students knew what they were doing, she came in and told me what I'd be doing. Several times, however, she asked me, "Are you all right?" I honestly told her no, but I can manage it. Soon after she left, I did something I'd never done before: I left a class. I zipped outside, afraid that I was going to throw up. I didn't, but it was close. When I got back in, I called the secretary and told her I'd made a big mistake in coming. She told me not to worry, as she would get me a sub. I made it through the rest of social studies and the first science class, but barely. My substitute came in and I was able to get her up to speed (I hope), and then I got out of there. And that is the first time I can ever recall leaving a job before the day was out. Fortunately, Laura was able to pick me up. She'd also already called my tutoring job and told them I wasn't coming in, so I could just relax the rest of the night. Good thing, too, as it really hit me bad later that night, and I had to go talk to the toilet for a while, if you know what I mean. Fortunately that was the worst of it, but I decided to take Tuesday off as well just to recover and build up my strength. Since a lot of kids were on spring vacation last week, the tutoring job could spare me.

Nothing else happened on Tuesday, so I decided to try again on Wednesday, especially since a high school math teacher I filled in for earlier this year asked for me. My stomach was still a bit queasy, but I felt much better, and figured I could handle it. What I didn't know, however, was that she had taken on a temporary seventh period class, prepping for the WASL (which starts up again next week). And because of the funky block schedule this school has, I had all of her classes with no break. So I pretty much taught math, in one way or another, from 7:10 in the morning to 3:00 in the afternoon. Then I headed down to tutor from 4:00 to 8:00. YARGH! My sub notes said I could at least get paid extra for the extra class, but the secretary didn't know what I was talking about, and the regular teacher would have to deal with it. ??? Oh, well. Thursday I was back at the same school, this time teaching Spanish, and still no break period. However, since there is no Spanish WASL, I only had four classes, and was done around 2:10 and could actually go home for a while before tutoring. (I do wish, however, that teachers would leave extra stuff to do, in case their plans for a seventy-five minute class barely take them through thirty of them, as happened here. What a day for me not to bring one of my Disney Canta Con Nosotros videos, which I've often found to help.)

Friday it all came full circle, with a math job up at the local junior high again. This was the day before spring break, so I was expecting trouble, but as I've subbed in this class before, these kids knew and respected me, and actually paid attention when I told them we had work to do. Fortunately it was pretty low key and low stress, and they seemed to get into it. And it's going to help them get ready for the WASL once they're back. However, because my stomach still wasn't cooperating, I decided to drive, even though it was a gorgeous day and looked to only get better. Then again, since temperatures hit a new high for the day — almost 80 — maybe it's just as well. We don't take well to heat here in the Northwest!

So what's coming up? I've decided that this week is my spring break, even though my other district is back in session and I could probably work all week if I needed to. But I need the time off to assess what's going on, and to fill in some applications. I still have tutoring in the evenings, and because last Monday was a half day, I accepted a half day morning job on Wednesday to balance things out. But no, I'm not now going to make up last Tuesday or my missed tutoring. Then it's a long stretch until the end of June with little more than Memorial Day to break things up. Yeesh!

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