Today is a perfect blogging day–it’s a cold, rainy grey day and I feel so warm and cozy in our little home. I haven’t gone outside at all yet, I’ve just been watching the rain stream down my windows, somewhat thankful that I didn’t have to be out driving to a school in all the muck.
After a long summer vacation working at the crap part-time job (which I don’t miss at all, in case you were wondering) I’m teaching again. The calls aren’t as steady as I’d like them to be, but then again, I really didn’t expect to get much work as a substitute teacher in the first two weeks of school. I’ve just been thankful to have any!
My first day back was last Friday, and it was the perfect start to the year. The school I was called to was at one of the furthest edges of the board, but it was a beautiful country drive and the community is close-knit and lovely. I taught grade 11 & 12 Business all day and it was glorious. It’s not even one of my core subjects but I love teaching it.
The kids were also hilarious. Here were two of my favourite moments of the day:
I am not a “sitter” when I teach. I like to make rounds and see where my students are at in their work so I can pace my teaching. As I walked past a particular students’ desk, I eyed a blank page where answers should be. I should also note that I am sometimes a tiny bit sarcastic with my students, but never in a mean way and always with a smile.
Me: “What a beautiful sheet of lined paper! Are you saving this one for something?”
Boy: “…what do you mean?”
Me: “Well, I just assumed that since you hadn’t written anything down yet that this particular piece of paper must hold some great value to you.”
Boy (chuckling): “No Miss, I am just a great procrastinator. I know you can’t know that because you’re new, but I’ve already taken this course and I don’t feel like doing my work.”
Me: “Ahhh… well, unfortunately, sometimes in this life we all have to do things we may not want to do.”
Boy: “That’s true, but I think I could live with out this… but you wouldn’t understand. You don’t look like a procrastinator.”
Me: “Well, I hate to have to tell you, but I was you in high school! I left everything to the last minute and was quite proud of my procrastinator status even into university.”
Boy: “Get out. I don’t believe it!”
Me: “Yup, but then one day I figured out that procrastinating work didn’t hurt anybody but myself, and, well, here I am. Now I get to be the boss and tell you what to do.”
Boy: “Hallelujah! There IS hope for me!”
I laughed out loud, and he proceeded to do all his work.
In another class, students had to complete a less than exciting period of reading text book chapters and completing corresponding questions. As I circulated through the class to try and keep them motivated and on task, I noticed another group of chatty boys in the corner, who were obviously annoying the female students in front of them with their noise. I walked over to try and diffuse the situation.
Me: “How are the questions coming along?”
Boy #1: “Oh, they are great questions, Miss. We just don’t feel like answering them. Haha!”
Me: “Hmm… well, that’s unfortunate, but your teacher did leave me explicit instructions that they needed to be done in class as the books can’t go home and he is collecting them on Monday. So, you may want to try and get them done now, then visit after.”
Boy #2 (with a deadpan serious face): “Miss, you have the wisdom of Solomon.”
Me (trying desperately not to laugh): “Why thank you. If you do your work you’ll be wise too.”
Boy #1: “Maybe we just need a little motivation, Miss.”
Me (wary): “What kind of motiviation?”
Boy #1: “If we promise to do ALL our work, will you come to the fair tomorrow?”
Me (laughing): “What?? What fair? What does that have to do with international business?”
Boy #1: “Nothing, but it’s a fun fair and we want you to come. I’m not going to do any work unless you promise to come.”
Me: “I’ll tell you what–do all your work, and then you can tell me about this fair.”
Boy #1: “REALLY? You’d come?????”
Me: “Do your work.”
The boys all started laughing but started working and racing through the questions like a fire had been lit underneath them. The girls in front of them gave me a grateful gaze to have a couple of minutes of quiet.
(I didn’t go to the fair, even though they did do their work. I’m a bad teacher. haha)
Oh, little boys.
I’ve only had one other half day this week, teaching English and Special Education, and tomorrow I head back to the country school for an afternoon of English and History.
It’s SO nice to be back in the classroom… I love teaching, and not just for great professional clothes or the funny stories. My practicum adviser once told me that I had a gift for asking questions while I teach–he loved how I ask things in a way that draws out more than just surface answers and allows my students to make connections with things they’ve learned. That really meant a lot to me–I try hard to make sure that my students are understanding the material I’m teaching, and ask questions throughout to actively engage them in the teaching process.
For me, teaching is everything. I never thought that I could enjoy a profession so much. I cannot wait to have a classroom of my own, even though supply teaching is all kinds of fun. (Did I mention that I got to watch Remember the Titans on Tuesday? And that I was paid for it? haha)
I hope that the calls start pouring in… fingers crossed!