So, I’ve been an active substitute teacher for two weeks now and have worked four days- one as a reading interventionist with 1st and 2nd graders, one hellacious half day as a first grade teacher, a day as a preK teacher and a half day as a preK paraprofessional. The only bad day was doing first grade because the kids completely changed as soon as their teacher left and there was no getting everyone to be quiet and focus at the same time, or to stay on task, so it was chaotic and I couldn’t really get them to complete anything.
Working as a reading interventionist went well because the largest group I had was six kids so it was easy to keep them on task and engaged. PreK has been amazing because there are two adults (a teacher and a para) for each class of 18 kids. This generally means that there is a familiar adult in the room even when there is a sub, so the kids don’t act out like they tend to when there is a sub. All of the kids, the first graders who handed me my ass included, are so freaking cute, but I think the kids can sense that I’m really pretty nice and also don’t know every classroom rule and so they definitely tested limits and I always had a group of kids harassing other students while another handful were asking me for snacks or the bathroom or complaining about kids taking things from them, etc. I just had to realize that I might not be the best at wrangling a classroom full of unfamiliar six year olds by myself.
Basically, I’m thinking of sticking with preK and I’ve already gotten to know two teachers who would like for me to come back next time they’re out, so I think the plan could work. I was actually supposed to teach high school English today, but the school I was going to be at has been on lockdown once this week (yesterday!) for gun threats and has been in the news three times this week for the same reason, threats of a shooting. I felt like based on that, this probably wouldn’t be an environment I’d be comfortable in, especially as I was already nervous about working with older kids because I’ve heard of teachers getting harassed and threatened and I don’t know if I’d be able to keep them from acting out. So, yeah, I threw that job back into the pool and I’m sticking to the little kids that I have loved working with. With the h.s. thing, even if the rumors hadn’t come to anything yet, I figure where there’s that much smoke, there’s going to be fire. Scary.