Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tales from a substitute teacher's diary part 2

Well, I'm not a sub any more, but I'm a full time aide, but the idea is still the same, so I'm not changing the title of this post... and I wrote it a few weeks ago... hey, I hate to let a piece of writing go to waste.

When I teach, I try to be cool and laid back with the kids. I try not to sweat the small stuff, and I think most of it is small stuff. If a kid needs a pencil, I give them one out of my special "sub bag." Yeah, I carry a bag with extra pencils, paper, highlighters, scissors, tape, erasers, etc. Because I think a kid telling me he can't do an assignment because he doesn't have supplies is small stuff. Without making a huge ado of it, I hand them whatever supplies they request. And in the process, I also ask for manners. If a kid doesn't say thanks or please, I just say "manners" and the word is said, and we move on. I, by the way, always say "you're welcome."

I try to remember kids names, give them compliments, smile at them, and am ready to have a joke or a funny story. Kids hate having a sub because they know it's probably a waste of a class day; they know it means they're going to be handed busy work, which sucks for anyone, but especially for kids.

When I sub for math, I am usually at my worst because I never feel like I know enough material so I am very methodical and not very fun. I never, ever deviate from a math lesson plan, or try to value add to it, either. But in any other class/ subject I always try and add to the lesson, give examples, create games, or do something to make it fun! And it's funny, because kids always remember the wacky stuff I do in their classes when I sub, so I guess it makes a good difference.

I have 2 boys in the middle school who call me "gangsta lady" because one time I was messing around with them when they weren't trying to be "bad asses" and I was "all like yo yo yo, what up dwag" and they laughed their butts off, and since then, I have been dubbed "gangsta Lady" and they're my "Totally awesome dudes". hey, they aren't being disrespectful to me; it's just our way of connecting.

There are moments when I don't like subbing, just like anything else, but I do try and be a cool and fun sub. It makes my life easier, and kids like me. Guess it's a win-win situation both ways.



Bragger said...

I'm so glad to hear you say that. I try to be loose with kids too, but still they know where to draw the line and it's time to get serious. I also provide pens, pencils, highlighters, yarn, markers, glue, white out, construction paper, etc. It doesn't cost me very much, and if it makes the difference in a kid's life, it was money well spent. I joke with the kids and tell them I'm "loaded" so they don't feel bad about taking my supplies.

Maggie said...

Bragger- I'm glad to hear you do that too. All that stuff is no big deal to me, and I agree with you on the low cost. Who cares? I was in a classroom last week and a teacher went off on a kid for 5 minutes over the fact he didn't have a pencil. OMG- just hand the kid one and move the heck on!