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Day 2: In-District Training

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180 blog, Day 2

As part of my 180 days of regeneration, I’d applied to be a substitute teacher in the local school district. Today after laundry and exercise, I went to the in-district training for all new staff members. There was the typical business-setting anti-harassment training, blood-borne pathogen info, district policies, and an additional quick session to learn how to navigate the online sub system. Plus the fun of fingerprinting, with my super dry skin and extra-washed-chemistry-teacher-hands (FYI, corn oil totally wins). I tried to use Evernote to practice taking online notes, but am still having a hard time with my phone out at all, as I’m so used to putting devices away while others are talking.

When I came home, I sat and thought. And thought. And realized that I was jealous. I’ve taught nine years, and I remember feeling this way the year I taught at OMSI. I’m watching all of these teachers on Twitter talking about their new curricula, setting up rooms, getting student lists… and I wish I were doing it too.

I’m now thinking about subbing, and wondering just how you do it. I had good subs and bad subs while classroom teaching. Mostly, the good ones followed my instructions, and the bad ones didn’t. I even had a sub perform a density lab (against my instructions) with my freshmen, and told them that more-dense objects would float because more. Damage control took a while. The good subs also respected my kids (and they respected the sub), and the bad ones didn’t. When my amazing class of 17 kids (as well as the other classes) said a particular sub yelled at them, I made sure to report that person.

It feels weird to not have a classroom of my own for the next year. I won’t get to decide things for myself, and just have to fit into someone else’s structure. And now I have to think about creating a class culture in just a few minutes each period, while respecting the extant atmosphere. And I have to do lots of subjects that I haven’t taught (or learned?) in years, and do it competently. And I have to not step on toes, but be distinct enough so that it can serve as good advertising for myself for the next school year. And I have to carry out lessons the way the teacher intended, hoping my interpretation coincides. And how will kids respond to me and my new-for-the-day rules? Will I be able to keep a classroom in check and engaged in the stuff they’re supposed to be doing? How many names will I botch? Will I pick up on the kids trying to get around me? Will I do a poor job??

So, I’m nervous. But still looking forward to this year.

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