Monday, October 26, 2009

Adventures in Substitute Teaching--Ch. 2

For those of you who don't know me personally, I am a former teacher of 14 years (currently self-employed and Chief Trophy Wife).  For those of you who do know me, and who have heard me use the phrase, "I taught for 14 years," quite often lately, HuSH!

Knowing that little tid-bit, you'd think that substitute teaching would be a total breeze for me, right?  AHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!  NOT!!!!

[ring, ring, ring]  me:  Hello?

principal:  PrissE, this is Mrs. Principal from Large School.  How are you?

me:  I'm great, and you?

principal:  I'm wonderful.  Listen, could you sub tomorrow, Thursday and Friday for one of our 4th grade teachers?  She's got the flu and will have to be gone for the rest of the week.

me:  [near fatal mistake] SURE!  I'd love to!  See you tomorrow morning!

Tomorrow Morning:
7:30 my two children and I arrive, bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for school--this is just like what I've done for, well yes, 14 years!  No problems right?

I sit down and study the lesson plans and schedule for the day.  We have class for one hour, then the kids go to "specials" while I have conference time.  They come back to me, we have two and a half hours of class, then on to lunch and recess---and here's where the day begins to go terribly the 8:00 bell!

First and foremost, I have taught in two types of school districts...large and small.  However, most of my experience has been in the latter.  While technology has not completely skipped Small District, it certainly isn't ahead of itself.  For instance, did you know that, at Large School, announcements now come through the TV!  That's right, THE T.V.!

One student said:  It's 8:10!  The announcements are on!

me:  Why can we hear them in the hall but not the room?  (I'm thinking, poor school.  They can't get their P.A. system to work either!)

One Student:  NO!  You have to turn on the T.V.!

me:  huh??!!  Oh, okay (click, and we have announcements).......Um, did one of our students just walk out the door?

Now, here's yet another issue to which I'm not accustomed being from Small School.  Apparently kids here can come and go as they please...I mean, why else would Stealthy Susie just walk out of the room without telling the stupid sub who doesn't even know to turn on the T.V. for announcements!?

Two Student:  Oh.  She probably went to the library.  She had her book and folder with her.

me:  oh.  Is that okay?

Two Student:  She does it all the time.

Well, that sounds like permission to me.  Onward we go.  Stealthy Susie returns and we near 9:00 AM, get our things put away for specials, and head out the door.  Ahhh.  Now I can pour over the plans for the rest of the day and be ready to really move through the lessons.
     10:00  Snack/Read aloud to class
     10:20  Reading/Reading Activities
     11:15  Math
     12:30-1:15  Lunch/Recess
Allow me to pause here.  On the teacher's plans, at this point--and PLEASE keep in mind that she wrote these plans with an extremely high fever and the thought that she was writing them for a seasoned-veteran-capable teacher--the plans actually JUST say 12:30-1:15 Lunch/Recess followed by about an inch and a half of white space.  Now, I'm thinking how nice it is that the teachers have a thirty minute lunch PLUS fifteen more minutes of time to come back to the class and settle in before having to pick up the students................

At 1:15, quite proudly I might add, I am waiting at the door to the playground for my class to eagerly run to me, ready to put back on those "thinking caps" and plow through the rest of the day...except, I don't really see any of my class on the playground.  Hmmm.  May be I just don't recognize them....Oh, wait.  I hear them hollering at me.  FROM BEHIND in the hallway???

me:  What are y'all doing in the hallway?

Whole Class:  Where have you been!?  You were supposed to come get us at 1:00 from the cafeteria and take us to recess!!!  We missed our whole recess and the office has been paging you overhead!!!  You gotta go to the office!

me:  huh?!  Be right back.

Sweet Office Ladies:  Are you alright?!  We couldn't find you and your class was left in the cafeteria.  We thought may be you left the campus and had a wreck or fell into a diabetic coma somewhere!!  (Um, prone to hyperbole, much??)  We were so afraid something bad had happened to you!

me:  OMG!

So, I explain the whole lesson plan misunderstanding, we all laugh, I go back to the kids, explain the lesson plan misunderstanding to them, take them back to class (without having a full recess time) and they are NOT amused!!!

After we return to class and are in full swing of our writing activities, a phone rings.  Now, I know enough to know that students are not allowed to have cell phones in class and I'm bummed because I'm already on their bad-list.  Taking a cell phone from a pre-teen isn't going to endear me to them.

me:  Who has the phone?

Whole Class:  What?

me:  The phone that's ringing...who has the cell phone?

Some Kids:  NO!  It's the phone on the wall.  Someone's calling you!

me:  First, announcements on the T.V. and now, a phone in the room!  What an advanced school--and what a boob of a sub!!!  "Um, hello?  Mrs. Sick Teacher's room........"

I hang up from having a quick chat with Sweet Office Ladies, who are just calling to check on me and make sure my plans for the rest of the day are sufficient (i.e. the kids are not unattended, I've not left the building and fallen into a diabetic coma--which is rare when you don't have diabetes--and every one is where they are supposed to be).

I turn around, and wouldn't ya know it...after assuring Sweet Office Ladies that we are right on track and every one is "where they are supposed to be," Stealthy Susie isn't in her seat!!!  Nor is she in the room!

me:  Where is Stealthy Susie?

Three Student:  She probably went to the 5th grade hallway to talk to her friends.  She does that sometimes.

me:  WHAT???!!!  Go get her and tell her PrissE said, "Get back to the classroom and do it now!"

Three Student leaves and I take this brief breather to check the clock.........2:15!!!!!!!  I still have an hour to go!!!!!!!!!!!!  You might say to yourself at this point, 'surely she can make it through one more hour without severely screwing up.....right?'  Well........actually, I did.  WHEW!  The last hour of the day was not without bumps, mind you.  But, Stealthy Susie didn't leave the room again, the T.V. and announcements weren't an issue, and we were exactly where we needed to be, altogether, with no phones ringing.  All I had to do now was convince the kids that tomorrow would be better and I would NOT forget the lunch/recess incident of September 23rd!   For the remainder of that hour, however, they made sure that I'd written notes on the plans for Thursday and Friday (that I am to go get them and give them their whole recess time), and they CHECKED where I'd written said notes, as if they didn't believe me!

At 3:00, Mrs. Principal walks in and checks to make sure I'm good, that the kids are good, and that I was still up for coming back on Thursday and Friday.  Wonder why she thought she needed to check on us....oh, wait.  Nevermind.

And, by the way, Thursday and Friday?  Well, they're two whole new days with their own stories.........subbing is NOT for the faint of heart!


  1. i can't believe the school with the drama! that's hysterical to me! also, it's like ONE kid.... out of THAT many, who's gonna miss ONE??

  2. There is NO WAY I could ever teach. Thank goodness for subs who have 14-years of teaching experience!!