Friday, May 21, 2010

Whirlwind Week

“Hope is a good thing – maybe the best thing, and no good thing ever dies.”
- Stephen King

Since I returned from the conference late Sunday afternoon, I feel like I haven’t had a chance to catch my breath. While the kids did their chores and the house was in decent shape, food was in short supply and I had to catch up on laundry. It’s amazing how many clothes can accumulate in the basket since I “caught up” on laundry that Friday.
I had much writing-related work on my plate and wanted to contact all of the people I met at the conference. Unlike previous years, this time I was better about talking to people and handing out business cards. When I saw another person jot a note on mine, I realized how important it was to take my own notes before some of the people became scrambled in my head. Second on the agenda was to write a post because I’m used to writing nearly every day. And in the back of my mind was the request I had to write a post for the Guide to Literary Agents blog.

The sub-line was merciless, not caring how busy I had been or about my lack of sleep or the inspiration I’d received compelling me to write. The second blog post I ever wrote* was about dressing for work. For the past several weeks, I’d given up putting out a casual outfit in case I didn’t receive a call, figuring I wouldn’t have another day off until the end of the year. But Monday morning, I received a call from a NEW GATEKEEPER, who sent me to a GYM job. Gym clothes required.
The job was for the teacher who has the dirtiest, messiest supply room I’ve ever seen. There were no plans left. I took the 5th/6th-graders out to shoot hoops on the lovely day. Then I had a kindergarten and two 1st/2nd-grades, which I kept inside with stations (bouncers, hula-hoops, jump ropes, soft Frisbees, and soft balls). It went well except for the popularity of the hoppers. There are never enough hoppers. The only down side was one first-grader who lost her mind and beat me up at the end of the class. Luckily, she was the size of a preschooler so I didn’t get hurt. Not that she didn’t try.
A woman who shadowed another student said she was so impressed with me the time I’d subbed for music that she’d told the office. It hadn’t led to jobs there, but still. A boy in that class had a broken leg, so I set up ring toss for him. The problem was I had to retrieve the rings and watch the students. The principal came up to check on me in the midst of the chaos. So much for that recommendation.
Afterwards, I had 7th-graders for health, but with no plans, the principal didn’t expect me to teach it, and I gave the students free choice instead. Basically, they did the same things as the kindergarten and 1st/2nd graders + basketball and without all the injuries, pushing, and stealing one another’s balls. 3rd/4th-graders came in for the last class. I took them outside to play soccer, basketball, and jump rope.

After teaching gym, getting beaten up (sort of), and writing a post, I was tired. It didn’t stop the gatekeeper calling me on Tuesday morning, with a confusing assignment. I was to teach English and fifth-grade. When I realized it was for the Spanish school, it made sense. I’d be speaking in the English language to the fifth-grade students. They were a dream, with only minor chatting and slacking.
One girl thought I was twenty-years-old, but she also thought Eleanor Roosevelt was married to Theodore Roosevelt, so her judgment was a little off. At some point I gave them ten seconds to clean off their desks, counting in Spanish. One boy responded, “Today’s not a Spanish day. It’s an English day.”
During my breaks and quiet work time, I wrote a post for my blog and one for Writer’s Digest. But I waited to edit the post over until after school. Even though I e-mailed it to Chuck Sambuchino in the evening, he responded quickly, asking for a picture and bio.

The next morning, I received an e-mail from Olive to write a post. Soon after, my phone rang in another GYM job at the place I’d taught middle school Spanish a month ago. Fifth-graders played mat ball (kick ball with mats and a couple of other rules) and I co-taught, so it was easy. That teacher left for another school, so I was on my own for the rest of the day. Sixth-graders argued and trash talked a lot during mat ball. After that, I had third and fourth-graders. They were all sweet, and the day was easy. I set up stations. Boys wanted me to see them shoot hoops and girls wanted me to count jump rope rotations.
It helped by winning them over during warm-ups. I told them if they were good, I wouldn’t make them do that quick foot-moving defense move. I also reminded them it wasn’t the end of the world if we did the moves out of order. I am a seasoned gym sub (for no reason I can fathom) so I know what to say and how to behave. My authority is never in question.
The Writer’s Digest post showed up at some point that morning. Woo hoo! Feeling good, I went to the teacher’s room to microwave my lunch. There, a teacher party was in full swing with free food. Nobody looked at me, let alone offered me food. I heated up my fried rice and went back to the gym to work on my post for Olive.
My friend’s child was in one of the fourth-grade groups. He’s a nice boy who’s friends with my son and gave my daughter her first kiss. (Don’t ask.) When I saw him tossing a football by himself, I played with him for the next half-hour.
At the end of the day, he came to say goodbye. I offered him a ride home. On the way, he chatted about getting braces and kids at school.

When we reached his house, he said, “Thanks for the ride.”
“No problem. Anytime you see me subbing at the school, just come over at the end of the day and I’ll drive you home.”
“Just like when you subbed Spanish, I could’ve asked you for a ride?”
He paused. “You know, it’s a good thing you’re a sub.”

I don’t know about that.

* My second post:


  1. Wow what a week! I'm almost breathless just reading it. Phew.

    I've been saying this a lot as I visit all my favourite bloggers today:
    I'll be looking forward to seeing what next week will have been like for you.

    Take care!
    See you in 10 days.

  2. Alesa, what? You're leaving. What about the STORY?!
    I'll miss your comments too. Wherever it is, have a great time!

    As far as my post, that was only through Wednesday. Yesterday and today have been crazy too. For another post.

  3. As planned, the story ends today. I'll finish writing it as soon as get home from work. : j

    I'm going to Rhode Island to eat fast food, attend a wedding, and visit my lovely in laws.

    That's only half a week? Yikes. : j

  4. Er... you got beaten up by a child? Are you ok?? Good grief!!!
    That's not nice. :-(

    At least your next lesson the next day was better. No psycho kids attacking you!

    Well done with all your writing and guest blogging! You must be knackered now. I hope you find time to rest - thank goodness for the weekend.

    Take care

  5. Alesa, you'll be a state away. Have fun at the wedding! I'm going to Ireland at the end of next week, and will be gone until the following weekend.

    One more entry. Can't wait!

    Old Kitty, she punched my legs and arms, but wasn't strong enough to bruise me. Her teacher wouldn't let her get a drink at the water fountain because she'd dawdled. Then the teacher left the gym, leaving me to block the girl from the fountain. I had to hold her hands to get her to stop. Lovely girl.

  6. Have a great trip! I guess I'll read you in two weeks time then. : j

  7. Wowee you accomplished so much this week!

    I thought this was funny:
    She thought "Eleanor Roosevelt was married to Theodore Roosevelt" Kids have no idea how to judge age. Even when I worked at Hannaford's at 16 I couldn't tell who was over 21.

    It's a compliment anyways :)

  8. Wow, yep, that was a busy week. I hope the weekend is at least a little relaxing. And isn't it funny how that laundry keeps piling up. Just when you think you've conquered it, it reappears to strike again.

  9. Oh, my gosh. I think I need a long nap just from reading this post. Whirlwind is right!! :-)

    Have a restful weekend!

  10. Alesa, we're going to have a lot of catching up to do!

    Aubrie, it's true. When you're under eighteen, you can gauge everyone around your age, but older than college age and everyone else is just an adult and then, old.

    Jaydee, I have a theory laundry clones itself so there's a lot to wash, hang, dry, and fold. Then my some magic, when I look for something decent, I have nothing to wear.

    Shannon, I'm glad it's almost the weekend. Have a good one!

  11. You are amazing -- and so was your post for the GLA blog. I put it on the Pulse today. :)

  12. I sense impending change coming for you *looking in crystal ball* I can just feel the vibes coming off your blog. It'll be exciting to see what happens for you in the next few months!

  13. It just seems that sometimes when you're on a roll, the energy level boosts too. Wow, what an amazing week going on here. Writing, submitting, getting published, laundry, AND teaching gym class ... Whew!

  14. Elana, you're awesome for adding it to Query Tracker. Thank you!

    KarenG, I hope you're right. I'll keep working at this whole writing thing and she where it takes me.

    Joanne, at the end of the night when I'm sitting on my love seat, I have the energy level of a slug. But I'm productive during the day.

  15. Ok... I know that this was probably supposed to be a mildly serious post, but Theresa you seriously cracked me up!

    Favorite line: "One girl thought I was twenty-years-old, but she also thought Eleanor Roosevelt was married to Theodore Roosevelt, so her judgment was a little off." I love it!!!!

    I'm sorry a 1st grader tried to beat you up? But it's got to make you feel good that you fended her off! You're strong! =)

    I hope you get some rest. Lie down with a book and read till you go to sleep. Don't set any alarms or buzzers or anything that could potentially wake you up until you've gotten the sleep you need!! Take a break!

  16. Wow, that sounds like quite a week! at least you don't have time to get bored!- Your descriptions of the kids were really funny and eleanor roosevelt wasn't married to teddy? lol. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Wow! What a week indeed. Now it is the weekend, hopefully you can get some writing done.
    Have a good weekend.

  18. You are one busy woman! How cool that you'll be guest posting at GLA. I always read that blog.

  19. So busy! How will you spend the summer? You won't know what to do with all that time!

    You are gym queen.

    Congrats on all the Guest Blogging! That's awesome!

  20. Sounds like you need a vacation!

    I hate doing laundry too (well, the putting up of laundry), and it's almost bizarre how quickly it reappears.

  21. Wow. Busy, busy week for you. I don't know when your year ends, but I'm down to the final nine days of class and three days of finals before I'm out. Have a great trip, you've earned it. :)

  22. Oh boy. First of all, "It’s amazing how many clothes can accumulate in the basket since I 'caught up' on laundry that Friday." That sounds just like me!

    Second, I'm sorry you got "beat up" -- ouch! Kids are a handful.

    Also, I haven't had a moment to check out your guest post, but I'm going over there now. Hope you had a good week, Theresa!

  23. You've had a hectic week! It's a challenge taking on a different group each day.

  24. Katie, I always try to inject a little humor in my posts.

    I'm going to rest as much as I can this weekend, while preparing for the trip.

    Creepy Query Girl, when I corrected the girl, telling her it was FDR, she asked, "Are you sure?" "Very sure," I told her. Then I had to spell "Delano".

    Choices, I rarely get to write on the weekend. Sad.

  25. Solvang Sherrie, it was cool to be able to write a guest post. If you want to check it out, it came out on Wednesday.

    Tiffany, I'll get a bunch of writing in. And I hope to be querying The Disappearances by then.

    Amanda, laundry and ironing seem never-ending.

  26. Sarahjayne, you're so close to being finished! We go until around 06/18.

    Shelley Sly, I hope you're healed from your kid push. And I hope you had a good week. Mine was hectic, but the jobs weren't too demanding.

    Jemi, it is a challenge to take on a different group, but if most are nice and cooperative, it's not too bad. Maybe I'm finally getting used to it. Or maybe I'm still on a writing high.

  27. I'm sorry those teachers were so rude to you. If I'd been there, I definitely would have offered you food! :)

    I read both your guest posts and loved them both. That one you wrote for Chuck I bookmarked. Seriously, they were excellent!

  28. That's a busy week and a lot of work. You got beaten by a kid? That's scary. They manage to learn moves at a very small age... hehe

  29. Congrats on the guest post! That's awesome!

    What a week. You've made me tired just reading that. It's the weekend now - hope you're getting some sleep!

  30. I was breathless as I read this. My but you are busy. But it sounds like things are moving in a positive direction. Have you those bags packed yet. I will see you in Avoca. Safe journey.

  31. Susan Fields, thanks. This school doesn't have a friendly group of teachers compared with other schools in the district, so I wasn't surprised.

    Mr. Stupid, since she was a lightweight it was no problem. If it had been during class instead of at the end, I may have sent her to the principal.

    Kanishk, I can't wait for vacation.

    Talli, I got a full eight hours last night, which was a nice change from the usual 6 or so.

    Ann, I have nothing packed yet. This is the weekend to get organized. Are you in Ireland yet? If not, have a safe journey too.

  32. What a week! I don't know how you cope.

    All the best :)

  33. Wendy, thank you. Sometimes I don't know how I do it either.

  34. Oh My Goodness !!! You are just so versatile. Is a substitute teacher (in the US) the same as a fully qualified teacher? You are just called in when someone is off sick? I got a bit confused when there was another teacher there. Sorry - in Aus we have 'relief' teachers - which are (from what I can gather) the same as substitute .. just called in to cover an absence. I am not yet fully qualified. Still have about 14 weeks of practice teaching to go ... and a couple of graduate units :)

  35. Clutterbug, normally I work alone, but in Cambridge there are aides who help specific inclusion children. Some classes have a lead teacher and special ed teacher. And then for gym, there are schools where two teachers work together because there are two or more classrooms coming into the gym at the same time. Hope that explains it.

  36. Awww....what a good sub (and a good person) you are :) I work in a special ed classroom and hoo boy some of the subs are just dreadful. Still though we're always kind and offer them free food if we have it....

  37. Aww! A 4th grade compliment from a boy? You'd better write that down.

    And I DO want to ask! Come on, first kiss? It's important. :o)

    Hope your weekend is great!

  38. Slushpile Slut, that's nice to offer to subs. We're often the invisible class of teachers.

    Jackee, okay the first kiss. My friend was temporarily living in the condo upstairs with her two sons. We went out to dinner, and so my husband was in charge of her kids + mine who were all sleeping at my place.

    Turns out the youngest (then in 3rd grade) had a crush on my daughter (then in 1st grade). He wanted to kiss her and the two ten-year-olds boys encouraged it. So he gave her a peck on the lips.

    I found out from my friend when her youngest confessed. I asked my daughter about it. After some discussion, I asked her if she liked it. She blushed and said, "Yes." But she later told the boy they should just be friends.

  39. I just read your post and I am hoping you have a much slower pace this week AND no little children throwing hissy fits. I think this is probably what I would wish for a lot of people I can think of!

  40. Seriously? I'm tired just reading your post! I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing weekend. You deserve it!

  41. Bossy Betty, it's a busy time of year for subs. I have a feeling I'l be working almost nonstop until the last day of school. At least I'm going away for a week!

    Julie, I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing weekend too.

  42. are going to Ireland??? How exciting for you my blogging bud!! I am very envious! I think you ought to skip the subbing jobs and focus on the writing.

    Did you let the Principal know when he came in during the chaos that no plans had been left???

  43. VKT, I'm going to Ireland and Paris. I feel lucky. This will only be my fourth trip on a plane in my life. We're taking the kids, so this is exciting.

    No, I didn't let the principal know. Truthfully, I didn't care because getting to do what I wanted was easier than the plans she usually leaves. I've heard they tried to get rid of this teacher years ago, but it didn't work out.