I always come prepared with filler as a substitute. Lots of times the work assigned by teachers is review, busy work which the children get through very quickly. Then I'm left hanging with nothing to do and as far as I'm concerned, nothing to do means an out-of-control class.
It's springtime! My latest project is an easy birdfeeder; peanut butter on a toilet paper roll, covered with birdseed, yarn for hanging and VOILA! - instant birdfeeder. Add a bird coloring page and we're filling time constructively plus I have some bird songs to boot. (It doesn't sound like much, but you would be surprised at what a thrill this gives a kid. The children might know how to do video games, but there are so many children who are unexposed to simple activities like this.)
Yesterday when we were making the birdfeeders an astute 4th grader said, "Mrs. Blair are you wasting your money on us?" I knew and she knew I was spending my money to do this activity, it obviously wasn't on the school district's tab, but I said,
"Well . . . I wouldn't put it that way. I'm providing you with an educational experience."
Yes, Mrs. Blair does spend her money in an attempt to make her subbing days go better. (I'd like to think I'm frugal about it.) I want it better for the kids, but I also want it better for me. I don't like being in situations I can't handle and I have had many a learning experience because of them. My theory is - Always Be Prepared!
Maybe it's just semantics, but I didn't like the word "wasting". It was eating at me as the day went on. I don't doubt that someone has said to this student that they didn't like "wasting their money" on her. I talked with the class at the end of the day and privately with the girl who had said something to me earlier. I made it perfectly clear that even though I'm a substitute I come prepared to give them the best educational experience they can have for the one day that I am there and yes, I may spend some of my own money, but I'm happy to do it.
I believe that every human soul
is teaching something to someone
nearly every minute here in mortality.
M. Russell Ballard,