Friday, May 07, 2010

Back to Normal's Bittersweet

My week was interesting. I normally teach with a 'lead teacher,' so we trade off between planning/ grading, teaching the whole class, and teaching small groups. I very rarely teach the full class all day except when she's absent.

This week she went on a trip with family and was gone for 3 days. Originally, we were booked to have the school's 'permanent sub' all 3 days, and she is so excellent about wanting to do everything she can to help all day. She is bored without enough to do. Melanie left a list for her- kids to pull out for fluency every day, a new bulletin board to do, and sorting through some books from the library. I saved some grading from over the weekend for her.

And on Monday morning, our school was hit with a crazy number of absences. The permanent sub was needed in a kindergarten classroom where both 'regular' teachers were going to be gone, and instead I ended up with an older man who basically sat back and watched me teach all day. At one point when I was lecturing them, he spoke up for a couple of sentences. Other than that, he sat in a chair and didn't even go with me to pick up the kids or take them on restroom breaks. When I did have a rare bit of prep time in our busy no-special day, he wanted to chat. He never once asked if there was anything he could do to help.

Tuesday, the (amazing, couldn't-live-without-her) secretary called down a few minutes before the school day started, saying "Please don't kill me!" Turns out, I was not only without the expected sub- but without one at all.

Not a big deal, except for our two small groups. Oh, and the time when normally I teach a small group in another grade but can't leave the second graders alone. But the other small group teachers were fantastic about adjusting or covering for me, so it worked.

I didn't have a sub on the next day, either, which by that point I kind of expected. And honestly, it's kind of pointless to have a sub. One guy who came to sub at our school this week seriously brought a book and, when handed the plans, was surprised and said, "Oh! Normally when I come here there's another teacher who does most of the teaching." (Annnd now we know why he takes jobs at our school.)

Anyway- in my three-day stint as a teacher solely leading the classroom, the days were varied. Monday was such a bad day that my description to my fiance was "shitfest." The class was just awful overall, and I ended up writing 3 parent notifications as well as handing out 7 "Think Sheets" (in a class of 17).

Tuesday was better, though, and by Wednesday I kind of got in a groove. I felt like the teaching was solid- we got things done, we tried a new seating chart, we followed some teachable moments, the behavior was much better, we did some higher-level thinking, we talked about some life skills like working in teams, and I managed to engineer a good fractions idea that took me all of 5 minutes to plan for. Even better- I didn't have to get to school crazy early or run around frantically to make it happen.

It was a temporary thing, of course. Thursday I went back to sitting at my own desk, using a student computer, checking ideas with someone else, sharing the load. It was back to normal. I get my normal lunch, I don't have to scramble to get coverage for small groups, and I left for home before 5:00... but I also feel like I was just starting to get in the swing of things and feel like maybe I could really run a classroom on my own.

I'll be leading my own classroom for 6 weeks of the summer. I'm only a few weeks away at this point, and I'm still nervous- but I think I'm a little more excited now.

1 comment:

Renee L. said...

Wow, that's quite a week...
Glad you lived through it!! :)