Saturday, February 21, 2009

I like a fun Friday

I give yesterday a 7.5 out of 10 in terms of how much I enjoyed myself. I subbed for a 6th grade Language Arts teacher is slightly anal and of course that made my job all the easier. She had everything labeled in sticky notes on her desk- seating chart, worksheets, teacher's edition of the textbook, the novel- everything. I felt a little awkward at the end of the day, though, because if I forgot to do anything or didn't get detailed enough notes, I'm sure it would've bothered her.

Her kids were also in line. They knew their routine well and the first few classes didn't give me any difficulty, other than whispering to each other at the beginning of class. I gave the same speech about a class-wide warning and anyone I spoke to from then on out getting a silent lunch, and it did the trick for me. I enjoyed being in a Language Arts classroom, reading aloud, and facilitating a literary discussion.

The last period of the day was a Social Studies class and they gave me the most difficulty. The teacher assigned them to read 5 pages from their textbook, while taking notes via a web graphic organizer. I tried to explain how this particular graphic organizer was akin to the typicacl Roman numeral outline format, but I could just see the information whoosh around the room and whiz out the door. The kids had a lot of trouble grasping what exactly they were to be doing and I got the same questions over and over again because everyone was talking over me. They weren't loud, but none of them would quiet down long enough for me to get out a complete answer.

At one point my frustration got the better of me and I just told them I was done giving directions and that they needed to figure it out on their own or finish it for homework. I asked them to work silently and raise their hand if they had serious questions for me. Well, a couple of kids couldn't handle that and so I asked one boy to go work across the hall, to which he responded with a dramatic scene. I broke up a group of four boys to various parts of the room, and once again, more drama.

With about fifteen minutes left in class and the kids really struggling, I decided to give them about a third of the graphic organizer on the board to copy. That finally quieted everyone and I feel bad for losing my patience with them earlier, because I must not have given very clear instructions. But I feel like I did because I even drew a model on the board when I was explaining it the first time.

Overall, a good day, but I need to work on balancing the fun, goofy sub with the sub who has things under control. I have to learn which classes can handle that from the start, and which classes need more structure right off the bat.

Other things that still get me are attendance (for some reason I have yet to send a correct attendance form to the front office), getting the kids lined up and quiet before the bell, and issuing silent lunches. I always buckle thinking I made a mistake in giving a kid a silent lunch and offer the chance to earn lunch back. I have to stop either issuing them out so freely or stand my ground. I'm just not very good at giving multiple warnings because I forget how many I've given and to whom.

I also had these moments where I just had to laugh because this age group is nuts. During one of the Language Arts classes we were reading aloud from the last chapter of a novel. The kids were taking turns reading from their desks. I was reading along, but looking up occasionally to see what everyone was doing. This one kid in the back, in plain view, what twiddling some scissors, then drawing on some paper, then playing with some glue, and every time he would catch my gaze, he'd look around the room as though he'd been paying attention to something very interesting on the Word Wall, the ceiling, wherever. But would he look back the book like he'd been paying attention? Nope! Just looking all around- it was hilarious.

Here's to more 6th grade sub jobs in the near future, because I need to hope that I might get a job in the Fall. I don't have a teaching certificate, although I passed both content tests of Georgia's teaching exam, and this makes it extremely unlikely that someone will hire me.


Vagabond Teacher said...

I've had many situations where I've gotten frustrated and told the kids they were on their own with an assignment. It doesn't take long before they're ready to listen....unfortunately, by that time, my voice is so shot from trying to talk over them, and time is running short, that they don't get quite the explanation they need or deserve.

BTW, I'm enjoying reading your blog.

Sarah Lindahl said...

Unfortunately as a sub, you have to start every day like it is the first day of school (i.e. tough and cranky) or else things get away from you. That's probably what I like least about subbing. Nice blog!