Thursday, September 14, 2006

Substitute some knowledge

Today I took my first sub day. Wow. I always thought my teachers were having a grand old time when they were gone from school. It is seriously a pain in the neck to come up with things for a substitute to do with your kids and not just waste an entire day. At McReynolds the subs have a habit of not showing up, so I have no idea if my substitute came or if my kids just got handed around all day. On top of that, I have the fear that they completely embarrassed me by acting horribly while I was gone. I did read them the riot act about behavior before I left, but we'll see how many I'm writing up tomorrow. It's been a very long behavior week, I find it hard to be optimistic about the sub report.

The reason I took my sub day was for my certification. I have to take a day off and observe another teacher. Though it was quite the headache, I'm so happy that I disagreed with the administration and fought to take my sub day off campus. I went to observe a reading teacher at Patrick Henry and it was phenomenal. That school blows me away behavior wise. The kids are quiet in the halls. You might think this is a silly thing to be amazed with, but then it would be obvious that you'd never been in the McReynolds halls during passing period. The overall culture of the school was so drastically different. I don't know how to express this to the administration at McReynolds, but it's schools like these that we need to emulate. It's behavior like this we need to expect from our kids.

Besides the behavior aspect, I got to see some great lessons and gather some wonderful ideas. The day has left me with two thoughts:

1) I have so much more work to do. My lessons are not nearly as engaging as they could be, my ideas are falling short. I've been so bogged down with behavior and stress and exterior issues that I've let it get in the way of my lesson designs. I am a creative person. I am a fun person. I want to be that way in the classroom and right now I'm simply not. I've been limping by and making excuses for that being good enough and it's just not. Things are going to change.

2) Since things are going to change, I'm going to basically be tired for the rest of the year. Tara (the teacher I observed) had her entire first unit planned out, but she told me that she didn't have anything close to that her first year. I knew this, but I think I needed to hear it. I'm going to have to work every day to stay above water AND be a rockin' teacher. I'm willing to do it, but it's very scary. I like sleep. I like reading adult fiction and doing nothing on the weekends. I guess I should conjugate those verbs and put them in the past tense. I liked those things. Now, I love my kids so the conjugation is worth it.  (I think)

Oh yeah... I'm the new McReynolds girls soccer coach. They had their first practice today (sans me). I hope it went well. I can't wait to meet them all.

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