Monday, October 27, 2014

How to Keep Going, or Not Complete Chaos

I took a job at a school that isn't a huge drive from me.  I got there in plenty of time - early, in fact.  The person who normally checks subs in wasn't there, but the woman who helped me knew how to check me in.  But she was confused when I told her the name of the teacher I was subbing for.  I didn't get the name quite right, but I knew she taught 4th grade.  Only the teacher, whose name I recalled no longer taught 4th grade, which is what the sub caller had said she taught.  This year, she teaches 2nd grade.  Only I don't normally teach 2nd grade.  Sigh.  I will do it today.

She gave me a sub tag (no key) and showed me on the map of the school, where the room was.  Only the door to the "pod" was locked.  I had to walk around to another entrance (one she had told me to avoid) to get to the room.  Only the room was locked.  Back to the office to get someone to open the doors.

I might mention that my back has been really hurting me.  I took Friday off, because I was afraid that I couldn't stand for even part of the day.  Standing and walking cause me the most pain.

Back to the room.  She unlocks the door.  A neighboring teacher comes in about 5 minutes later.  I have found the teacher's desk, but no lesson plans.  The other teacher finds the emergency folder and the sub folder.  She says she will check for lesson plans.  On the desk is a note saying that the teacher I am subbing for has morning outdoor duty.  I still have time to look for the safety vest for outdoor duty and to look through the emergency folder and the sub folder.  Yay!  A class list!  Two kids have severe nut allergies and epi-pens are available - where?  I have no idea.  There is nothing in the emergency folder.  There is no emergency bag by the door.  Assumption: epi-pens must be in the nurse's office. [Questions:  where is the nurse's office?  where did I put the map of the school?]

The other teacher has not come back with lesson plans.  It is time to go outside for morning duty.  Put on vest; head out the door.  Teacher comes to me on the way out with lesson plans.  Yay!  Grab lesson plans and head outside.  There is another teacher there who tells me what to do.  Help keep the drop-off line moving: pull forward; drop kid(s) off quickly; watch for other cars exiting.  No time to look at lesson plans.  Finally morning duty is over.  I can't get in the door, because my tag doesn't open that door.  Have to walk around.  (Back hurts.)

Special education teacher comes by.  She has other assignment for today, so she can't take the kid she normally takes for special classes.  She will tell him.  

By the time I get back to the classroom and talk to special ed teacher, it is time to get the kids to come inside.  Fortunately, it looks like there is some "morning work" on their tables.  Maybe I will have a minute to look at the lesson plans.  The first instruction says to copy some emergency lesson pages in the sub folder.  Only, it is too late to go to the copier, because the kids are already there.  The sub plans list a block of time but I can't tell what the students are supposed to do during this time.  I look on the board.  There is a schedule, but it doesn't quite match the times on the sub plans.  Wing it.  "Spelling" is on the board.  There is a folder with spelling words for each kid.  No idea what to do with them.  Ask the kids.  They need special paper to copy the words.  Search room for special paper.  One kid finds it.  Students start copying their words.  Some finish quickly.  What do they do now?  They supposedly need a different kind of paper to practice writing the words.  Can't find the other kind of paper.  Wing it: just quiz each other on your words.

After spelling is over, I call them to the rug to talk a bit.  We have time before the next thing on the schedule, so I read a book that I brought:  Diary of a Wombat.  Kids enjoy it.  Parent come in while I am reading.  She is supposed to help.  I ask her to copy the pages I need for the rest of the day.  She comes back later with one page done.  The copier has broken.  She leaves while I am reading.

I still can't decipher lesson plans.  Check the board again.  Reading.  Kids say Daily 5.  OK, we will try Daily 5.  Only it is too long for one session of Daily 5 and not long enough for 2 sessions.  So, one session and a bit of extra time for snack.  Then recess.  Ah, time to see if I can get the pages for the rest of the day copied.  Send kids outside.  Big copier is still broken.  Small one works, but is out of paper in the default bin.  Can't see any paper to refill it.  Decide to use second tray of paper.  Wrong orientation - try again.  It won't feed from the top.  Try again.  It won't double side.  Sigh.  Decide to waste paper - only 5 minutes of recess left and I still don't have the math papers copied.

Back to the room.  Get kids.  Another round of Daily 5.  Too early for math.  Third round of Daily 5.  Parent comes to help with math.  Middle school student comes to help.  High school student comes to help.  I am trying to figure out what to do for the lesson and what to do with all of the helpers.

Math time.  I haven't had time to look at the worksheets, but they look fairly standard.  Start to teach the first one.  It is good, but takes different kids different amounts of time.  A bit chaotic.  I teach the next two.  They are completely bizarre.  Kids don't really get them - neither do I - they are poorly done.  Not sure if they are the correct level for these kids. Go with it anyway.  Kids who finish early can do math games.  Which ones?  I have no idea.  Which games do you usually play?  They don't know.  Sigh.  They find flash cards.  Sounds good to me.  It is now almost 12:45.  Time for lunch and recess.  Finally.  No wonder snack is important to them.

Find teachers' restroom.  Teacher is standing in front of door, so I can't get by.  She is talking to another teacher.  She sees me; she doesn't move.  They finish; she goes into restroom first.  Sigh.

Back to classroom for lunch.  Read lesson plans for afternoon.  Still using plans from the emergency sub folder.  Back to copier for more worksheets for afternoon.  Grade a few math papers.  Time to go get kids.  Only, they aren't where I expected them.  Back to classroom.  Kids already there; they came in another door.  Another read-aloud.  Take kids to PE.  Whoops, I forgot to take afternoon attendance.  I think everyone is still here.  Tell office verbally.  One girl is leaving early for dentist's appointment.  Long walk back to classroom.  (Back still hurting.)

Look over emergency worksheets.  They seem do-able.  Go back to other end of school to get kids from PE.  (Back hurting.) Teach Venn diagrams related to one read-aloud.  They do another one on their own.  Almost time to go home.  Yay!  I may make it.

Clean up, stack chairs.  Send kids out the door.

Whoops, I almost forgot - I have afternoon outside duty, too.  Go out, direct traffic again.  Doors are locked.  I have to go in the front door again.

Back to classroom to write up the day.

Sigh.  I lived.

P.S.  If you think this is the whole day, you are sorely mistaken.  I left out the squabbles, the pencil problems, the sitting next to me problems, the ice pack for a bumped head, the special ed teachers who took random kids at random times, kids telling me that I was doing something wrong, no logins for the computers, the kid who insisted on a reward ticket for doing something nice, the inability to get the projector and overhead focused, the asking me about my Halloween costume (and retrieving my Medusa hat from my car to show the kids), etc., etc.

And, there was the boy who came up to me at the beginning of the day.  He introduced himself and asked me my name.  Then he said he was a little nervous about me, because he didn't know me.  But he did give me a hug, anyway.

See, it wasn't all bad.

All for $94.50 before taxes. 

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