Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Subbing - High School German

A week or so ago, a plea came from the sub office of one of the school districts that I work for.  They desperately needed a sub who could speak German.  I looked at the job posting:  high school; much further south than I usually go.  I turned down the job.  Then, a few days ago, the plea came out again.  They needed a sub who could speak German.  I talked to the sub office.  The job was for the rest of the week and could possibly turn into a long term position.  I am not really looking for a long term position in high school, but I do like to use my German, so I took the job.  

Today (Wednesday) was the first of three days.  I couldn't go yesterday, because I already had a job for that day.  

And now I remember why I stopped taking high school subbing jobs. It isn't so much the attitude (though that isn't good for a sub), but it is the difficulty of getting to know any kids in such short time slots. You end up feeling like (and being treated like) just a place holder.

It wasn't horrid, but the possibility of a longer term position is out, as they have hired a permanent teacher who starts on Monday. Many of the students were pretty surly, but I actually don't blame them. I was the 5th teacher or sub they have had this year.

There were no lesson plans, so I just ended up having them write answers to simple questions - What is your name? How old are you? How do you get to school? What do you do in your free time? Do you drink coffee or tea or something else? They were supposed to write in complete sentences (in German). You would be surprised (or maybe not) at how many high school students can't write a complete sentence correctly, even when given most of the words. Sigh.

I met the new teacher. She is nice. She will get them up to speed when she starts. Thank goodness.

And now a word about the attitude.  This is an IB school (International Baccalaureate).  One of the requirements of an IB school is that the students have at least three years of a world language.  About half of the students in the classes had Spanish sounding surnames.  A few of them even spoke Spanish to their friends.  When the principal of the school came in to talk to the classes about the progress they had made toward getting a permanent teacher, several of them mentioned that they would rather be taking Spanish.  Evidently not every student got their first choice of world language.  Since their classes are taught in English, they are already fluent in two languages.  It makes German a third language for them.  Given that, and the fact that I was, as I said, the 5th sub or teacher they had had since the beginning of the school year, I could understand the attitude.  Nevertheless, it is a bit discouraging as a sub to be the brunt of their confusion, disappointment, and resentment.  

As I said, it wasn't horrid.  But I am glad it is only 3 days.

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