Yesterday I stayed home and worked on freelance writing. Because I didn’t get some returned phone calls, the day wasn’t as productive as I would have liked, but it wasn’t a total wash.
Today I went to a local middle school and taught seventh-grade science. Yes, my first day as a substitute was spent teaching the subject I was worst at in college. The assignment was to watch a video on the scientific method and write down 20 facts from the video. No sweat, for me or the kids. I had three hours of good honors students, though third hour was a bit rowdy before lunch. They settled down, though. Then there was an hour and a half for my lunch and planning period. Fifth hour was excellent. Ideal students. Couldn’t have asked for a better roomful of kids.
Sixth hour … Hell came calling in sixth hour. The teacher left me a note of warning about this class, naming several students as troublemakers. Students in the fifth hour warned me about sixth hour. But it was sooooo much worse than I ever would have imagined. How bad was it? Instead of writing a note telling the regular teacher who needed discipline, I left her a note listing the six kids who didn’t need discipline. And it was the first day in a new school for one of those kids. Wow. These kids wouldn’t take their assigned seat, lied to me about who was who, were popping sheets of paper, throwing paper, hitting each other, talking and yelling back and forth and just generally doing anything and everything to be a pain my my butt. When I was in seventh grade, the teacher would have been okay cutting a swath through that kind of class with a paddle.
It’s hard to regain any kind of control when you don’t know anybody’s name. I could have called the office for help … but that would have looked too much like defeat. I’m way too stubborn for that. Or … I was today. Next time, though, I won’t let the good kids suffer because of the bad ones.
Despite sixth hour, it was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed being in the school. It was the same video every hour, but different kids, and I really do like the middle school/junior high age group. One student said I was the coolest sub ever as he left class. While that isn’t the goal, of course, it’s nice to hear.
I haven’t accepted an assignment for tomorrow yet, but on Thursday I’m going to a different junior high to teach reading. I loved my reading class in junior high. I was introduced to some of my favorite books in that class.
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