Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I have officially left my comfort zone

  • I'm a creature of habit... I like the routine of things. I don't venture outside of this much.
  • I am a planner... I like to know what I'm doing every day. I often have things planned well in advance.
  • I don't like to talk to strangers...I've never been good at small talk. I love my friends but always feel insecure when I meet new people.

Subbing has forced me to change of these. I know it's good for me. Lucky for me, I'm not afraid of change...well maybe a little. Here is my life as a sub. Every night I wait for a call about a job. If you miss a call you lose a job, so I pretty much remain attached to my phone. I hope for a school that is close. I get endless calls from the automated system and I decline most (high school, bilingual, middle school). After 10:00pm the automated calls stop and I hop on the computer and check for updates VERY often. If I see one I want I try to select it. Often I see the message "Another user is viewing this job. Please try again later." If it is a job that I want, I try again....and again...and again. Sometimes it works and the job is mine. If I don't find a job the night before, I wake up before 5:00am to check the computer again. At 5:00 the automated calls start again. I get in the shower and get ready, still not knowing if I'm going to work. Honestly if you aren't picky you could work every day. My problem is that I want to do a good job so I won't take a job that I will just be a baby-sitter at all day or be less than effective (bilingual). If I get a job in the morning then I have to hop onto mapquest and get directions and hope that I can get Cole on the bus and still get to the school on time.

Once at the school, I have to find the admin office and get signed in. Find the classroom, hope there are sub plans (and if there are, that they are detailed), try to find at least 1 teacher to meet and clarify any questions. Meet the kids, teach whatever grade level that I am assigned to (and pray that I understand myself what I am supposed to teach), learn the classroom routines, have the kids guide me around the unfamiliar school, manage the class, manage the time through the day, learn their dismissal routines, return the class to the way I found it, and leave detailed notes of how the day went. All of this is WAY outside of my comfort zone.

I have gotten a few jobs in advance which eases the anxiety some. I taught Kindergarten at Cole's school today for the Kinder teacher he had last year. I have another few jobs lined up at his school in the coming weeks.

The only part I don't like is not knowing where I am going to be from day-to-day. I have loved most of the grades. I taught 4th grade yesterday and had a blast. I was bummed because they asked me to return the next day, but I had the Kinder job already lined up. I actually love the older grades which I used to be afraid of. I learned a simple magic card trick that I open with and promise to teach at the end of the day if they all stay on task throughout the day. It is amazing how much that motivates the older kids. I bring a few of my favorite books to read and several time-filler activities. Another bonus is that when the kids only see you for a day, you remain fresh and exciting. It's a great learning opportunity and I'm trying to value it for that. I just hope that I can value it for the remaining months of the school year and move onto something more permanent in the fall.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ms. Mom

I have now officially been paid to teach...twice (well sort of-I don't get my first check until the end of Feb.)! Yeah for me. On Friday, I got my first call to substitute (at 4:30 am, no less). I had gotten several calls to teach from the automated system. Most were for high school, which I declined. I'm not that desperate yet. Several were for both bilingual and special ed combined. I will try one, but not both together. Yikes!

The job I took Friday morning was on the not so good part of town at a rough school. While I was waiting to sign-in that morning another sub said good luck. She said that the teacher I was working for in 5th grade was known as the "mean teacher" and therefore had some of the worse kids. Overall, the day didn't go so bad. The kids have a rough life, makes me even more thankful of my own. Mostly I was sad just thinking that most of them won't have a chance to make something of themselves. I was firm but fun and we got through all the lessons without any major behavior problems. It's funny how within the first few minutes of class, you'll have the problem kids names memorized!

Last night, Cole's teacher called me to sub for her today. Cole was thrilled! We had to talk about some guidelines of how things would be different when I was his teacher vs. his mom helping in a class. Last night my mom was telling him that he'd have to act differently and he looked at her and said, "Granny, you can't undo my mom. She's always my mom." His class is very lively and we had fun today. Inauguration was a great day to sub on because there was a lot to talk about and learn. The only downfall was that I was sick all weekend, so I was still run down today. It's hard to be sick and be in charge of 20 1st graders. Cole survived with me as his teacher, they only problem we had was his disappointment if I didn't call on him first. Otherwise, it went well. He was happy to stay and help me clean up at the end of the day and really wants me to work at his school every day. We'll see.

Tomorrow, I'm helping on the class field trip. Then I'll need to find jobs for the rest of the week. Hope there are more fun stories!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Too young for a face lift?

Cole found this Ace bandage the other day and he has had several "injuries" since. He slept with it one night on his arm, in the morning it moved to his ankle, then wrist, foot, etc. Last night I checked on him before I went to bed and I could see something sticking up on his head. I grabbed a flashlight and climbed the ladder to his bed and then nearly fell off laughing my butt off. Tonight?? His "spleen" hurt. LOL!

Other news: I went to sub orientation for the Austin school district on Monday. I should be working by Friday. I'm happy to finally start working. I'm spending this week in Cole's class which has been fun. Yeah for employment!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Winter Break

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this winter break with Cole. We had a great time. Since I have always had non-teaching jobs any time off of school for him just meant after-school care. Not this time. We kept busy every day and had a great time. We went to several movies:Marly & Me(I cried...such a sap), Bedtime Stories (I didn't cry, but as soon as the credits rolled, Cole asked if I cried), and Tale of Despereaux. I even went to the movies with my mom and saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (I loved it and cried). Cole and I went ice skating, to the gym, Gatti Town, and just hung out at home. We played endless rounds of Wii until I thought my arms were going to fall off. It was a blast. I'm going to love that about teaching, the time off together!

Waiting to sub is FRUSTRATING! The districts aren't in a hurry and they were also off for winter break which meant my paperwork was sitting on someones' desk for weeks. I'm trying to be patient but the downtime is killing me...Oh that and my car. On Friday, my starter went out...lucky me!

I'm just going to keep on being persistent and hopefully will be working soon. If not, I'll going to adopt a cute dog that does tricks and take him panhandling on the streets. :-)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hello 2009

It's officially 2009. While I've made no resolutions, I will continue to take care of myself and be open to the possibilities in my life. Cole made a few resolutions of his own:
  • To flush the toilet every time
  • To never peek in the girls bathroom
  • To read to me every night

And my personal favorite...

  • to never cut down a tree that is leaning towards the house

Happy New Year!