Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Gravy Train Has Left The Station

So all school year I have had a weekly gig, filling in for a former co-worker at his new school. For health reasons he needed one day off a week, so there I was as regular as clock-work.

It was a great thing for me in many ways, because it was a guaranteed job that added into my monthly paycheck quite nicely, it added structure to my week which is rare in the world of substitute teaching, and it was nice to create connections with "my" kids.

What wasn't so great was the actual job itself - an art room in a K-8 - it was filled with mayhem and stress. Pretty much, starting at 8:15 I got a group of kids for 45 minutes, then as one group rolled out the next rolled in, so no break at ALL until 11:45. No time to clean paint trays, set out new materials, go to the bathroom, grab a snack. Add to this the crazy organization of the day - 5th graders followed by 3rd graders followed by 7th graders followed by 2nd ... and it was a whirlwind of stress and activity. I never left without being totally exhausted.

So, when I found out that this teacher's physician will not be writing any more excused notes, I had very mixed feelings. On one hand, it was a day I started to dread every week. On the other, now that weekly safety net is gone. Hopefully my other contacts will pick up the slack and the gravy train won't be missed.


  1. Virtually all the schools in my district are K-8, and I think Art is the most difficult subject to teach to that many grades in one day.
    I hope you gain work (and pay) in an easier subject.

  2. I had to laugh when I read this post. I'm working towards being a teacher (career changer). An art teacher. And I keep feeling like elementary school would be best. Maybe I'd better shoot for high school instead? :) At least our elementary schools are only up to 5th grade. You've laid bare the truth of one of my worries - having very short class periods, all different grade levels, and wondering how in the world to teach anything when so much time will be spent on set-up and clean-up. Eek!

  3. Hello Surfie!
    My only recommendation would be to see how schools and art programs are run in your district, and how you react to the students. One of my professors in grad school encouraged me to take on a "middle level" endorsement in addition to my high school endorsement and I am so glad I did ... I hated those years as a student but now love them as a teacher. And my district is having trouble with the K-8 model, maybe it will be fixed for elective teachers someday.