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Posts Tagged ‘Substitute Teaching’

     I have been substitute teaching a lot – three different schools, many different subjects, a wide range of grades – 5/5 days last week.  It’s been interesting.  

     I have been in class rooms where there have been no plans and nothing to work with.  I have been been in others that were super-organized with rosters, seating charts, lesson plans including contingency plans if the students finish early.    One teacher requested that I do a great deal of collating and finished her instructions with “Please wash the windows before you leave” – seriously, I could find no indication that this was a joke.  I have taught in schools where I am not treated as a professional and in schools where I have been thanked and treated well.   I never know what will happen when the phone rings in the morning.   I’m learning to juggle and to dance while I’m doing it with a smile.

      The experience has been valuable for gaining perspective.   I like middle school students more than I expected.   I prefer more advanced Chemistry and science BUT middle school kids aren’t afraid to laugh at a joke or be amazed about something cool.  They do have more energy than they need for school – sometimes that leaks out in unacceptable ways – but they aren’t locked into a personality or affect.   If middle-school students don’t understand a teacher’s joke, they will work on it for a bit and laugh later;  high school students just decide that you’re obtuse in some way and they don’t care or aren’t interested enough to puzzle it out.   Interesting change in my perspective.   I have no control over what level I will end up teaching but I am more open to either level.

      I also gain perspective when teaching other subjects.    I am certified to teach Chemistry but was recently teaching Biology in which the textbook (and the students) asserted that there were four classes of “Organic Compounds” – proteins, nucleic acids, fats & lipids, or carbohydrates.   Uh – no;   in Chemistry, even on the NYS Regents Chemistry Reference Table, there are many more classes of organic compounds including aldehydes, ketones, ethers, carboxylic acids, phenolic compounds, etc.   I texted a friend who teaches Biology and he made the same assertion.   Another obstacle to my dream of an interdisciplinary curriculum.

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