Monday, October 12, 2009

What I Do Part 2

There is a flip side to the coin, of course. Some things about my job are not so great - but you knew that, right? Most people, when I tell them I'm a substitute teacher, get this look on their face, and sometimes, they are right. So, reasons that my job can suck:

1. I don't have a boss. No one to ask questions, help me with problems, recognize me for a job well done. No one to give job references when I hit the pavement in the summertime.

2. No lesson planning, grading, parent phone calls, etc. This was a major part of my graduate education: the creation of a meaningful, rich, interesting curriculum. When I'm back on the sub list I lose this opportunity to design lessons and projects that can educate and enrich a child. Instead, I'm left with the "lowest common denominator" lesson plan that anyone with half a brain could implement. Also, I don't get much opportunity to see students grow through the year or make connections with parents and families.

3. No staff meetings. Alright, there is no downside to this.

4. No one even knows who I am. It's kinda depressing sometimes.

5. Most of the time, kids are happy to see you. The rest of the time, they say "oh, man, a SUB" and refuse to do anything you ask, pepper you with inappropriate comments, and act like little brats in general.

6. The whole district is my classroom. There are no more "safe" places to go hang out and be myself, except maybe ones that card. Also, there is a lot of commuting, trying to follow Google Maps at 7 am, and every possible traffic situation.

7. The pay is actually pretty good. Unless you get sick, it snows, or teachers magically decide that their physical and mental health is in tip-top shape. Then you get to sit by the phone and start doing serious checkbook balancing.

8. I learn a lot. For example, things that I have learned: I hate kindergartners, some school staff are passive aggressive a-holes, teenage boys will do anything to disrupt a lesson, and how to spoon feed yogurt to a vegetative life skills student.

9. Networking. This is all well and good but I hate having to kiss ass every day, just in case that this is the school that will be hiring.

10. Kids are neat. It's neat how they love to talk when you are talking, sneak in when they are tardy and out when they are bored. It's neat that they loooove to text message and have no sense of future consequences for behavior. It's neat that they are messy. It's neat that America's future has no idea how to get back from lunch on time and that is somehow your fault because (say it with me) "you're just a sub!"

Taken individually, these things don't really tarnish my day. Every once in a while however, the universe's forces collide to make my life awful. And when it does I will tell you about it here.

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