Friday, May 11, 2007

A fun week teaching

No, this is not going to be a recap of my whole week. I'm done with that, as I doubt you want to read them, and I'm not really interested in writing them. But I have had a terrific week. I've had interesting jobs (albeit perhaps with too many videos), the weather has been terrific, and I've just been really happy to be a teacher this week. I'm also feeling more confident about my chosen profession, and that I can do it. (Now I just need time to deal with the application process...)

Has anything in particular helped this situation? Well, yes, actually, and thank you for asking. One day this week (Tuesday, I think), I was subbing for an elementary music teacher. From what I gather, she's been pretty sick lately, and has had a lot of subs. Most of the classes were fine, but I did have one sixth grade class that was a little loud. There were several students who came running to the room, and so I asked them to go back to the end of the hall and try again. One of them had to do it five times before getting it right! Once everyone was in, I had a really tough time to get everyone sitting down and listening. It got so bad that I finally gave up, and asked them to step back out into the hall and line up again. I then gave them very clear directions of what I expected: facing the front, hands to themselves, and mouths closed. I had to go up and down the line a few times to deal with pockets of resistance, but in the end they did it, I let them in, and they sat and listened to me — exactly what I and just about any other teacher would want them to do. As they were filing in, I heard one of them say, "Thank goodness, we have a competent sub today." That made my whole week! I've had several students tell me that I'm their favorite sub, but I'm always paranoid that they're saying it because they think they can get away with stuff (even though I don't think they do). Both students and teachers assure me that that's not the case, but after my experiences in the year of the strike a few years ago I'm still paranoid. But that "competent sub" comment makes me realize that I'm doing it right. I am also proud of myself for doing it all very calmly. In the past I might have lost my temper and raised my voice a bit, but this time I was very matter-of-fact about it. It's taken too long, but now I really feel like I can be the kind of teacher I want to be. (Now all I need is for a district to agree and hire me.)

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