Sunday, September 20, 2009

First Day of Subbing Survived

So I had my first day of subbing and it was fine.

[Pause for everyone who had to listen to/read my agonizing over whether I would be all right when I got back in the classroom, or if I would snap like a Vietnam vet with PTSD*, to think, "I TOLD you so!" It's okay, I appreciate your encouragement when you probably wanted to snap, "JUST GIVE IT A REST ALREADY**!"]

*post-traumatic stress disorder

**My poor husband did say that or something similar but since he has to live with me, he heard my worrying WAY too often, and so I forgive him for snapping at me. He is awesomely supportive and you will see why I'm saying this when you read the rest of this post.

The day didn't start very well, though. First, the sub coordinator called me at 6:45 because it was a last-minute absence. When she called, I was still lying face-down on my daughter's bed waking my daughter up, so I had exactly an hour to get to the school. The kids start coming in the classroom at 7:50. So we got up and hustled around eating breakfast and getting dressed, while I texted the friend who was supposed to keep Mr. Blue.

She texted back and said she couldn't take him until 9. I really can't get into the whole story, but we had figured out she was not really wanting to keep him as she had earlier promised (before I had ever committed to subbing). She had said she was available that week, though, and I had specifically told her to tell me if she couldn't keep him on any day, because canceling after I've accepted a job at that late a time is a huge no-no. I cannot afford to get a reputation for being unreliable.

So my saintly husband stayed home with him until 9, and I headed to the school. I made it by 7:40 and they sent me to my classroom. Luckily the kindergarten teacher I was subbing for had some plans, and the teacher across the hall helped me figure everything out. I knew it would be a tiring day, because a) kindergartners are full of energy, and b) it is the beginning of the year, they barely know how to act in a classroom anyway, and I was their first sub. But I was delighted to learn that being a mom HELPS. When I was a fresh-out-of-college 22-year-old sub, little kids made me nervous with their messiness, inability to sit still, and most of all their LOUDNESS. Now, I kept the noise level to a dull roar but it didn't bother me much, and I really think my patience level is increased exponentially. I am used to being asked the same question 72 times in a row. And I already know that trying to take them anywhere is like herding cats! I mean, 20 kids is more than 2, but at least I have some perspective on normal kid behavior. And how to keep them interested.

So we did our writing and drawing and coloring and listening to stories, with periodic interruptions (helpful hint: unplug the pencil sharpener; it is too tempting). Except for one child, who never listened to me and would not sit down at all. So after he became too distracting, I sent a note to the other teacher asking if he could sit in her class. She came over, but he immediately insisted we were "not the boss of him" and he was LEAVING. Turns out he had been in her class last year and was repeating K. He kept running in circles. Since we can't grab the children and he wasn't responding to her stern commands, she called the assistant principal, who stood over him at his desk and kept repeating that he had two choices: to stay in class and do his work, or go with her to her office. He eventually did his work and didn't cause any other problems.

I don't LIKE to involve the administration, but when one child is choosing to make it impossible for the others to learn, sometimes you have to call for backup.

I was glad that I really didn't get upset about the child causing that kind of disturbance. I used to take that kind of thing WAY too personally, like worrying about whether the other teachers would think it was my fault somehow. (Neurotic much, Alison?)

It had been raining all week, but thankfully they were able to have recess outside, which probably explains why the afternoon was easier. One little girl threw her arms around my waist and declared me "the best teacher ever!" and another told me how pretty I am. Small children are tiring, but very sweet. (Still don't plan on being a K teacher, however.)

So all in all, it was a successful day. I also learned that my cheap flats (I buy most of my shoes from Target & Payless) are horrible for standing on my feet all day. My legs ached all the way up to my hips--I felt about 80. I have bought some Dr. Scholl's insoles to use until I can buy some shoes with better support. So technically I didn't earn any money that day since I'll spend all my profits on shoes.

Tomorrow I am subbing for a Family/Consumer Science teacher at the high school. I think this is a fancy way to say "Home Ec." I sincerely hope I am not asked to thread a sewing machine. I took four years of Home Ec and I never learned how to thread my machine without help.

Next time I will tell you how the babysitting problem has been solved.



  1. YEAH!! I am so excited for you! So glad your first day went well. K kids are a hand full, any kids really, so I am glad it was pretty calm for that age level.

    That stinks about your daycare issue. At least it is solved!!

  2. Seems like its all bright and sunny over at this end....
    Indeed you have a great hubby...

  3. Is it ok if I'm stressed for you? Four or five years of preschool and I don't think I've an ounce of patience left in me to work in a classroom. I've hives just considering it. I'm not cut out for it. You however, did beautifully. Onwards and upwards!

  4. I love the visual of herding cats!

  5. I highly recommend Clarks or Privos for comfy shoes. Try and hit the "on sale" section.