Friday, August 29, 2008
This week I've been dabbling in a little substitute teaching, in an attempt to test the waters before jumping in with a credential. So what are the two things I decide to "rip off the band-aid" with? Foreign Language and Boys' P.E. (What?!?) As if teaching high school kids isn't scary enough, I had to go and pick something where I'm teaching in a foreign language and/or to rowdy 15-year-old boys. But let me back up a bit.
So I show up on the first day of school with the ever-ambiguous job description of teaching foreign language classes for "Teacher A." I'm thinking to myself, "They can't expect me to know every foreign language. How bad could this be?" It ended up that I was to teach Spanish 1 to a bunch of adorable intimidated freshmen, with one Spanish 3 class sandwiched in between.
And I really enjoyed it. Aside from the fact that everything was chaotic, it being the very first day of the school year, I really had a great time teaching these kids. It was such a relief to know that standing up in front of teenagers and making somewhat of an ass out of yourself isn't all that terrifying. And by making an ass I mean I contemplated singing the silly songs I learned in Spanish 1 to help me learn the South American capitals or days of the week ("Lunes, Martes, Lunes, Martes, Miercoles, la la la...."). Thankfully, I spared them and myself the humiliation and stuck to less-mortifying activities.
I picked up a Boys' P.E. class today, which in the first week of high school translates to taking attendance and making sure they don't kill each other before the period ends. On a side note: Teachers of core subjects - English, math, science - definitely have their work cut out for them. Their work in the classroom is challenging enough, and then add on grading papers and tutoring and mentoring and on and on. P.E., on the other hand, is a cake walk. Gym teachers do exactly what you see in class: take attendance, wear visors, walk the track (or not) and leave at 3 p.m. or earlier. They have the easy life figured out.
So there you have it. I survived my first week as a sub and actually had a little fun at the same time. I'm sure teaching your own classes comes with a whole new set of perks and challenges, but nevertheless I think I learned a few things. Namely, how to think on your feet when you're thrown in to a classroom without a lesson plan, classroom management, and just generally interacting with that age group. And now I'm even more excited about my choice to pursue a teaching credential.
I used to sit in the cube behind you. Then I didn't. And then we fell in love.
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