Monday, February 16, 2009

"SIT DOWN!!!!!"

It's incredible, so far this month I have subbed every day. I've had some "golden moments" which always give me a high, but last week I had "one of those days" - meaning it was horrific (at least in my eyes). I have had not so good days before, but what made this one different than the others was that I was so exasperated with the teacher. She left me so little to go on. Maybe she thought it was all perfectly clear. Her lesson plan book laid open neatly on her desk, but to me it was like reading hieroglyphics. I didn't know what she was talking about in spite of my familiarity with curriculum and classroom procedures. If there was another outline, I couldn't find it. I should have just taken over and done my own thing for the day then try to decipher the abbreviations that had been left for my guide, but then I do want to accomplish what the teacher asks.

It should have been a fun day of Valentine celebration, but it was discouraging instead. I have been in a number of first grade classrooms and have been good to keep things in check, but this situation turned into mania. It may have been a difficult class to start with, but following some routine would have definitely helped us pace through the day. Because I didn't have understandable instructions, things got out of control quickly as I thought through what to do next. As I was overcome by the onslaught of chaos, my good nature transformed. It was like a Jekyll and Hyde experience. In desperation I found myself turning into "CRAZY SUB".

I shouted, "SIT DOWN!!!!!" Oh the freak-out of it all! I just wasn't prepared for such bedlam. It was way out of control! I don't want to be punitive. I'm all about positive reinforcement, but these little first graders were riding me and running me to ruin.

Maybe it was because of the Valentine holiday (which means sugar), it was snowing outside too (which was of great excitement), and yes, the coming three-day weekend awaited (all sorts of fun plans ahead). No doubt this didn't help my situation. Whatever it all was, in spite of my preparedness, I wasn't prepared. I did not have strategies ready for this unexpected mayhem. I obviously did not come away happy about the day.

I was feeling disheartened as I handed off my classroom key to the school secretary, but soon realized that maybe I wasn't alone in my rancorous day. She cheerfully took my key and asked, "So how did sugar and snow mix in your classroom today?" She put a smile on my face which wasn't there before. I shook my already bowed head and said softly, "It wasn't good." She, still with a cheery heart and laugh, thanked me for my service. I thanked her too and as I walked away the cloud that had been raining on my subbing parade began to lift. I knew that in spite of my dismay it had been another learning experience in my subbing saga.

"Who dares to teach
must never cease to learn."


  1. It is great to be able to still be able to learn from our experiences. It is also wonderful how a few cheerful words can brighten the days of others. keep smiling Danette

  2. I love the graphics on this one. It tells it all.

  3. I was just thinking about you the other day. A patient I had the other day schedules substitute teachers was saying how little work there has been for them. It's good to see you're still busy.

    I had a good laugh trying to imagine you losing your cool. Even though I grew up not seeing much of the extended family, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I have never seen your or Hugh be anything other than pleasant.

    Oh, I have to find this article from a medical journal I was reading the other day. A ground breaking discovery. Children do not get hyperactive from eating sugar. Hum....

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  5. I think everyone was hyper just thinking about valentine's (many of which included sugar). They took their valentine's home. We didn't indulge in the classroom or the mania would have gone to the next level and then someone would have had to carry me out of the school....hee hee!

    I'm doing first grade again tomorrow, same school, but I don't know what classroom? We'll see what awaits me.

    By the way, I broke my subbing streak. I didn't work today.

  6. "We didn't indulge in the classroom or the mania would have gone to the next level and then someone would have had to carry me out of the school....hee hee!"

    Oh man, the "hee hee" added to the end. It just creates a picture in my head of two people in white coats escorting a slightly tattered Martha out of the classroom.