Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Well-Rounded Education

I'm nearing the end of my third week as a substitute teacher, and I have to say it's quite an eye-opening experience. I have taught several different topics so far, including English/Language Arts, Social Studies, and Art. I was even "tricked" into being the In-School Suspension Coordinator for a middle school last week. The computer said it was a Social Studies assignment, so I accepted...and then found out when I arrived that the Social Studies teacher is now the ISSP Coordinator (translation: let's put 11 kids with attitude and behavior issues into one small room the size of a storage closet with no windows and teach them to behave...not likely). I survived, but wow, do I ever have more respect for my parents for raising my brother and I to respect our elders after being so disrespected by the ISSP students. Those kids were obviously testing me, and I get that, but if I had EVER acted like that in school I wouldn't have been able to live it down with my folks.

And today, I taught Math to sixth and seventh-grade students at another middle school. Math, as anyone who knows me well enough will understand, is not my favorite subject. I really do believe that despite my teacher's best efforts, I was just never meant to be a math person. I can compute basic figures in my head well enough. I liked Geometry because it was like a game to me somehow. But where in life will you REALLY need to know that (3+x)/(14-y)=132? I mean, that's fine if you want to be a scientist or a mathematician, but I was just more worried about learning to balance my checkbook. Anything with the word "calculus" in it was just too terrifying for me. But the teacher who called me to sub for her is a friend from church, and I've known her for quite some I accepted the assignment and just hoped for the least it wasn't high school pre-calc or something like that.

Lo and behold, she had an awesome lesson plan all written out for me and all I had to do was follow it carefully. Hand out the assignment, help the 6th graders if they had questions, and make sure the 7th graders didn't talk during their test. It was somewhere about halfway through the day that I realized, "I can totally relate to these kids." Now, I don't think I'm going to run out and get my teaching certificate and specialize in Math, but I had some sort of epiphany that because Math frustrates me, I was really working harder to make sure the students could get a better handle on things. Maybe that will make a difference for them later down the road, even just a tiny insignificant difference.

So subbing is going well. The kids are having a blast with my mom during the day, so that's just another blessing I count among many each time. And several teachers today asked me for my contact information so they could call and request me, so I take that as a positive sign. I don't know if middle school is really my "favorite" age group, since I haven't worked with elementary or high school all that much yet, but it's nice to know I'm doing something right.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you! Glad things are going well. As I teacher, I really admire you...I know many students have a "when the cat is away, the mice will play" type attitude toward substitutes. I appreciate your perseverance! :)