Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So Bored

Being a new substitute it is difficult to find jobs. I've been out of work for the last two days & only had a half day on Monday. I don't even remember the last time I had a full-day, certified assignment!

On the upside, some of my classified work has paid dividends. I have two special ed teachers at the high school who have me on their short-list of subs. I think I have now subbed at least a few hours at every school in the district. I am constantly passing out my business card to try to drum up new business, but nothing much has been coming my way lately.

Hopefully business will start to pick up soon!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One of Those Days

I taught a K-2nd grade class today. It's part of the public school district, but it's a class for students who need a more non-traditional classroom (a lot of the students have Asperger's, ADD, or other difficulties).

Lately I've been subbing a lot at preschool or High School & Junior High special education; I was so off my game today! It's even more difficult because the two K-2nd teacher work very closely together so being off your game with another teacher watching is just so hard. She even had to come into the classroom to help me remind the students to read silently during silent reading (when I talked to them, they were still loud. the moment she said shhh, they listened). I love the concept of this special school and how it reaches students that would otherwise be less than successful. I would love to help out again, but I doubt the other K-2 teacher is going to give me a good recommendation :-( Oh well.

On a different note. In the last couple days I was requested for two different jobs. One in 6th grade & one for high school special ed. It's nice to be getting to the point where I am the substitute of choice (at least for a couple teachers), rather than just grabbing everyone's leftovers. Hopefully I have less days like today and more days that will get me on the "let's call her" list.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Resource Room Rocks

I got to do a half day in resource room today. It's one of my favorite sub jobs. I had three different groups of students (2nd grade reading, 4th grade reading, and 4th grade math). The kids were pretty self sufficient and didn't need a lot of help, but I was able to tutor one girl on borrowing (she knew to change the digit in the ones place, but had forgotten to change the tens place). I used some snap together counters to show her where the extra 10 in the ones place came from.

I think working with small group of students who just need that extra push is one of my greatest joys in teaching. I read a book that talked about how every teacher has their "specialty" some like the bad boys, some like the whiny girls, well personally I LOVE the kids that just don't quite catch on, but that really want to (sometimes they don't yet realize that they want to, but deep down they really do).

I'm currently tutoring a girl who is like that as well. It's really fun to teach her the basics of reading and math. I've enjoyed making games for us to play like "race to a quarter" (a variation of Marilyn Burns' "race to 100")-to teach place value- and "The Magic E Game" (based on a combination of Candy Land and a game I read in a reading book)-to teach silent e and to practice cvc words-.

I think the reason I love the kids who take longer to catch on is because when they finally "get it" their faces just light up. The first few weeks of tutoring were difficult because the girl had this feeling that she wasn't smart and that school is too hard, now she enjoys coming to my house and last week she even said, "Yesterday I really wanted to come to your house. I was tired and I wanted some relaxing learning."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Back to Preschool

In addition to subbing for the local public school, I also sub for two private schools. One school has preschool through 8th grade and the other is a Montessori school that has infants through kindergarten (with an elementary before and after school program. Before I started subbing I worked at the Montessori school, so it's really fun when I get called to sub there and see the familiar faces of the kids and staff.

Thursday and Friday that's exactly where I was. Half the day, I was even in the same classroom, doing the same job I used to do. It was nice to be able to fall into old routines. The rest of the day I got to help with the after school program.

A couple funny stories...

*In the elementary class they had a Halloween Party, which was fun. After the snack & the ghost pinata, the kids got to burn off some energy on the playground. A couple of the kids were roughhousing a little too rough & the other teacher asked them what was going on. The kid replied, "I think it's the sugar." Nice blame shifting kid, try again...

*One of the teachers was helping a two-year old change out of her pull-up. She asked me over to show the girl's profound knowledge of the English language.

"What do you have?" the teacher asked the girl.
"A vagina" the two-year-old replied.
"What does Joey have?"
"A penis"
"What does Ms. H. have?"
"I don't know" (I guess that was better than yesterday when she said that one of the teachers "didn't have any")

Actually my first experience with preschoolers knowledge of anatomy came my first week working at the preschool when a three year old came and put her hand on my lower abdomen & asked me "do you have a penis?"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Adventure in Special Ed

Both Friday and today I subbed in special ed at a local High School. Both days weren't bad, but the were both an adventure and a test of patience.

Friday I woke up a little late so I didn't have time to eat my breakfast before I left. I brought some bread, apple slices, and a handful of walnuts in a paper bag along with my lunch that I'd prepared the day before. I nibbled on my breakfast a little (after getting permission) from the teacher while I helped out my student. I had to leave the room for a few minutes to help a kid out in the library and by the time I got back my paper bag was gone. I thought someone had just thrown away the bag, not realizing I still had food in it, until I noticed another aide eating MY walnuts!!! Ok, deep breath, is it really a big deal? I decided to let it go.

Then I took my 15 minute break and when I got back I noticed the yogurt from my lunch was outside my lunchbox, opened, and HALF EATEN! The kids had been having snack so I have no idea if one of the kids got into my lunch or if it was the other aide again (I was also missing a cheese stick and an orange--bye bye most of my lunch--thank goodness my pizza was still there in the hidden compartment!)

Now, I keep my food safely locked in my car!

Today, I had another adventure. I got slapped in the face by a kid--twice. And scratched--twice. Most special ed classes are really nice to subs (they know it's hard to keep a good sub). Usually they give us the easiest kids and have us work closely with other aides. Today, not so much.

I was called late for the job (the sub system's been down since Friday). When I got to the school the teacher was like, "Oh, your kid just left with that other teacher...go catch up to them and he'll help you out. They're heading for the gym" Okay, no problem. I go and catch up to the student; the teacher who was "watching" her was on the other end of the hallway. I follow, but soon he's around a corner and I've lost him. Thank goodness I learned on Friday where the gym was. Unfortunately, my student didn't want to go to the gym. I'm there, alone, with a kid I just met who is pretty insistent that she's not going to listen to me. After a couple slaps and a lot of chasing (thank goodness she wasn't a fast runner) we were almost to the gym. Finally one of the aides I met on Friday spotted me and helped me get her into the gym. Problem was, no one from her class was in the gym (I later learned they were on the track)! We return to the classroom and I let the teacher know what was going on. What a fabulous first 30 minutes to my day. The rest of the day wasn't too bad, and a couple more slaps and scratches later I got to go home. All in a 1/2 day's work.

New Blogger

I've been subbing since May and decided to start blogging about my experiences, probably venting is more like it :-) I have read a lot of fabulous teacher blogs, but SUB blogs seem to be in short supply (Just a Substitute Teacher http://kauaimark.blogspot.com/ seems to be the only good one I've come across). I wanted to add a new voice to the discussion.

I chose the name for the blog because I sub everywhere (well...everywhere I have the guts to). Last week I tutored special ed one-on-one (classified job--for those of you who don't speak "school" classified is jobs you don't need a teaching certificate for, and they pay $4-$5 less/hour), kindergarten, 4-8th grade private school German (I don't speak a word!), and junior high English (first time I've worked up the courage to sub for junior high--my internship was in kindergarten!)