- Charles De Mar to Lane Myer in film “Better Off Dead” (One of my favorite movies.)
For the first time in awhile, I received a call the night before the sub job. It meant I could sleep for another thirty-minutes, which is a gift. I’d be reporting to a failing school, which was trying to improve test scores (It’s all about the test) by implementing an eight-hour day. But I’d only be working a normal school day for PE.
I forgot that from April to December we have street cleaning. On my computer, I have a map to show me which neighborhoods are affected on certain days, so I don’t drive around for many-minutes looking for a spot. Of course, it was street cleaning in the school’s neighborhood. Just to make it interesting, one street was closed for repaving (meaning, less spots) and, even better, the “good side” had less spots because there’s no parking in front of the school.
Driving for over ten-minutes, I tried not to become overwrought since I’d arrived at the school fifteen minutes before my reporting time. Finally finding a spot three blocks away, I hoped that later I wouldn’t get lost finding my way back to the car (A strong possibility). Reaching the school just in time, I reported to both offices because this building also houses the bilingual school. Remember that post*? (No, I did NOT have that kindergarten class for PE.)
Nothing is ever easy. I signed in at the Spanish school, went upstairs and signed in at the main school. They gave me the schedule for the absent teacher, but it was the wrong teacher for the other gym. Then I went back downstairs while a copy of the correct teacher’s schedule was made, except the copier ran out of toner. I eyed the clock with dread. Sensing my concern, the secretary said, “He doesn’t have a class first period.” Then the equipment closet was locked and the janitor INSISTED that he didn’t have the KEY.
The secretary was certain that there was a key, so the janitor tried many, many keys on his basketball-sized ring. Lo and behold, one of them worked. As you can see above, plans were adequate, but not ideal. When are they allowed to use the bathroom? Drink water? Did he forget to mention that the kids use mats during warm up? How about dismissal for the last class? My favorite part of the plans came at the end:
If you are comfortable with something different Do it. Good luck (Foreboding?)
As you can tell, my attitude is poor. I can feel it. This is the second job in one week when I just want to turn around and go home. Although subbing has never been my favorite job, I’ve rarely felt this… done.
I want stability. This job has no stability.
I want control. This job has no control.
I want familiarity. This job is the opposite of familiarity.
I want camaraderie. This job provides little camaraderie.
But I know it could be worse, so I need to buck up. Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects that I’ve reiterated too many times, I’m going to focus on the perks:
Bad group? They’re only mine for the day or the period (Or the next time I’m called there)
Days off = writing time (And I don’t even feel guilty anymore)
There’s no work to take home (BIG perk)
When I tell people I’m a substitute teacher, they’re impressed (I made that up)
I have flexibility to take days off (Without pay, but still)
I’ve taught nearly every student in the district and many know where I live (Okay, that’s just scary)
It gives me something to blog about (When I’m no longer a sub, what will I write about?)
The first-graders came, and about ten minutes into class, my jaded heart brightened because (when they’re not horrid) little kids are cute. Even their clinging to routines is cute. “But we always…” And don’t say run – it’s jog.
One girl kept coming over to me to tell me trivia and halfway through class, she gave me a hug, while one boy cried over everything – and I mean everything. “Buck up little camper,” I said.
The biggest issue is that even though every kid had the same yellow ball, with the same black writing, and the same amount of air, I got a lot of, “S/he took my ball!” My new rule for the rest of the day was, before anyone got a ball, they had to repeat after me:
All of the balls are the same.
I will not fight over the balls.
Or I will take a break.
Junior-K was the next group, and it was time to use the balls, this is what I heard for twenty-minutes:
“Ms. M, look at me.”
“I can bounce the ball with my head.”
“Look at what I can do.”
“Can you do this?”
Before one class, a first-grade girl warned me about a particular student. “He’s special. Sometimes he’s difficult, so you have to keep an eye on him.” I thanked her for the warning.
Some students improvised, sticking the ball under their shirts. I would’ve feared for future teen pregnancies if the boys hadn’t been doing it too.
The only downside of the day is that I had to do everything SIX TIMES. The ball demonstration and rules were repeated six times. I stretched six times, so by the end my nose nearly reached the dirty gym floor during the sitting straddle (Really, my nose was still a yard away). I did 600 crunches - watch out, Britney!
For each job, I anticipate slipping and sliding up a steep slope. Some jobs are more like sliding down a slope (I shouldn’t use a skiing analogy because I’m a terrible skier). Beginnings are never easy.
Why am I so sore?
Update: Then I left school and got a call from my son, who missed the bus, but my daughter took the bus, so they would be two places at once, so I called a friend to see if her kids were taking the bus, but they were in after school, so I called my husband, who said he’d get my daughter, and I raced to pick up my son, who stayed in his classroom on the third floor instead of waiting in the office; and when we got home, my husband and daughter were there, but my daughter was frazzled because the bus waited at the stop for two-minutes before my husband arrived, and then my husband left for work, so I talked to the kids, who cried because for awhile there, we had all been scared, and then I filled the dishwasher, and we piled in the car to stop at the recycling center to drop off compost, and now we’re all at Taekwondo.
* My adventures in a bilingual Kindergarten classroom: