Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My thoughts on subbing-Part I

Subbing is interesting, as I have mentioned before. I've been in the high school several days- and I like is so so so much better than the middle school kids!!!!- and am starting to put names and faces together- and they are recognizing me back. One thing that's interesting is that Daddy-O works in the middle school so lots of these high school kids were his students 'back in the day.' Some like me because of that connection, which is a bonus for me. Hey, I can take what help I can get as a substitute teacher.

I've rarely had much discipline issues at the high school level. As a former "real teacher" ,as the kids say, they seems to settle down for me pretty well. Also, I realize that as a sub I have to give them a little bit of leeway and as long as they are respectful to me me and each other, follow the majority of the rules, and keep the chit-chat within reason, I'm pretty easy going. And as a sub, you have to be.

Take for instance the other day when a young man came in a little late. He had a pass and he wasn't disruptive but he missed my instructions for the class period, and he missed my name. So he raised his hand and said, "Hey Sweetheart, what do I do in section 4?" The class sucked air and I had to make a quick decision. My response was: "That's Ms. Sweetheart to you, or Ms. [Maggie] if you prefer. And you need to answer all the questions in complete sentences, omitting the diagram in number 4." He grinned, the class exhaled, giggles were heard and we moved on. The next time he addressed me I was Ms. [Maggie].

Could I have been a royal bitch and made a big deal out of it? Yeah, sure but at what cost and to what end? Who really cared? Was it appropriate? Nope. BUT... I was a sub and I had to pick my battles. I didn't give him what he wanted and he was respectful next time. And each time he's seen me in the hallway he waves, says "hi" and I hear him tell his friends I'm cool. And though it's not my job to be liked-but as a substitute teacher it makes life a helluva lot easier.

Another day I was in a math class (oh yeah, go ahead and laugh- I was hopeless! I let them know that "English majors do NOT do math!) and the kids knew I was just back from the Wild West. I told them there were more students in that one math class than in the entire junior and senior class at the school I came from. I gave them about 5 minutes to Q and A me about where I taught and they thought it was cool and were amazed. We connected a little bit and then that class worked hard, were polite to me, and when I run into them now in other classes, or in the hallway, they are polite and speak. It's nice to be able to relate to these kids. (Another way I connected was to be honest with them that I had no idea at all how to solve for "x", I had no idea why the exponent was a letter, I couldn't graph fractions, and that I feel letters have no place in math...)

I was in a special education resource room and one senior girl was totally lost with Macbeth. (Don't even ask ME why a special ed. student doing Macbeth, okay? The brief answer is because NCLB is suck ass legislation!!!) Anyway, I digress... I sat with the girl and explained an entire scene to her in "regular English" as she called it and she understood. I tied it to lots of pop culture references, commercials, music, and used appropriate slang in an effort to make it "real" for her. Then she answered the questions and asked me to check them- and she got them all correct. She also knows I'll be in her building every day for the next 2 weeks and asked if she could see me each day to help explain her reading; of course I said yes, even if I'm not in her room she said she would come after school. Again, I said yes. Hey, it was one light bulb moment- go HER!

Your "Ms. Sweetheart",


Bragger said...

I'll probably get kicked out of the English teachers' club for this but...

I love math. I'd rather help a student solve for x than figure out the main idea of a paragraph that I hate.

I'm just sayin'

Jimmie Earl said...

Hey Bragger,
Maggie and I should probably kick you out of the English Teachers Club, but personally, I admire you for being able to solve for X. I sure as heck have a major problem doing it, but I can if given enough time and paper.
Just give be a paragraph and I am a happy camper!

Farrago said...

As teachers go, I'm sure you're a great broad.


Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Math is a mystery to me too. I freeze at any test that I need.

Haven't been keeping up with blogs. I check in and glance.

So happy things are going well with Sam (!!) and subbing!

I'll catch up soon!


The W.O.W. factor said...

Hey, your "Sams Revenge" is gone?? I get a blank page.
?????was his revenge to delete it???