I'm done subbing for the year. Turns out my old job called and needs me to come in for the next couple of weeks (which is fine with me because I love that job and it's a lot more peaceful than subbing, let me tell you).
But fear not, my loyal readers, for I am still prepared to dazzle you with anecdotes involving all manners of darling, disobedient, and downright terribly-behaved children. From here on (til fall) I will be backlogging the tumultuous 4 months that I subbed before starting this blog.
Let's talk about my first assignment ever. It was the first day back at school after the kids' winter break. I woke up to the frigid cold darkness of 5:30 on a Monday, and out of nervousness took the first elementary general assignment (third grade) I could find. It was at a school that we'll call...M. Manson Elementary. I had been warned about this school from teacher friends of mine, and let's face it, it's a small area, everyone in this city basically knows which infamous schools to stay the h--- away from. But in my half-awake nervousness, I accepted the assignment and got ready.
The school is an inner-city school, old, run-down, in an area not lacking in boarded up windows and bars across doorways. The office secretary seemed to have more on her mind to worry about than a terrified sub's first day at work. I located my classroom and read the plans--and to my chagrin discovered that I had unwittingly accepted not a one-day babysit-and-get-the-heck-out assignment, but a three-day you-will-actually-have-to-teach-these-kids-and-be-productive assignment.
Well I certainly did plunge into this whole substitute teaching thing head-first, didn't I? I thought to myself.
The next three days can be condensed into this much:
running, howling, fighting, pencil-stealing, video-game-playing, yelling, crying, destruction, chaos, confusion, rage, frustration, laughing, boredom, disobedience, hitting, pushing, kicking, peacing out during lessons, insanity.
The greatest thing about the underpriveledged schools is that there is a near-constant stream of "intervention" teachers pulling and returning students to/from class, creating a whole new level of confusion for both substitute and student when the student returns and has no idea what is going on. Usually I was able to teach a lesson to a group of about 4 kids at a time who were actually trying to learn; the rest basically ran around the room like hyenas.
My favorite moment was when I lost my temper on the third day and yelled at the top of my lungs at them (no worries about neighboring classrooms--I heard my colleagues do it on an hourly basis. I don't know how teachers in these schools keep their voices for any length of time; mine was shot by the 2nd day).
"EVERYONE SIT DOWN! I AM SICK AND TIRED OF HAVING TO SCREAM OVER YOUR NOISE! IS THIS HOW YOU ACT FOR MS. ___? IS THIS HOW THIRD GRADERS ARE SUPPOSED TO ACT? YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!..." and so on. Well this speech, believe it or not, did shock them into a staring silence, and I thought it had done the trick. I finished speaking and stood for a moment to catch my breath, and in that moment, I heard a snicker, and all was lost. The class erupted once more into an all-consuming chaos.
More to be said on this experience in the next post.