14 November 2008
It is easy to be excellent in a sea of mediocrity.
I subbed today with someone who was - well - mediocre. Perfectly nice woman. very sweet. But a complete and total push-over. She subbed for the regular ed teacher and I for the special ed teacher. We had only one class period together and then I brought my students back to the room at lunch time and at the end of the day.
The class period we had together, was odd at best. The room is full of diverse abilities - and the assignment left was a worksheet packet. She tried to have everyone work together, got upset when some students worked ahead. Didn't want to allow students to help other students - these are sixth graders... one student is an honors student who would have otherwise just been sitting there doing nothing. He wanted to help one of my students, a new student in class, who was struggling with the multiple instructions given (I was pretty-much tied to the Downs Syndrome child who needed constant assistance). She didn't want him to help... it was frustrating, but we survived.
When we returned to the room for lunch she was sitting at a table in the back drawing (she is an art teacher she told me - I think she was drawing things for the students). Kids were loud, doing whatever they wanted, not lining up for lunch - they were trying to pass out lunch tickets... no one could hear. It was pure chaos... I finally spoke up. Couldn't take it anymore. Just said (in my naturally loud booming voice) "Ladies and Gentlemen - if you would like to get to lunch this afternoon I strongly suggest you get in line and get quiet." And then I waited. I reminded them that I would not allow them to embarrass me in the hallway and we would simply wait for quiet before we would leave. And we waited. We were seven minutes late for lunch but we were quiet.
Imagine my surprise when I returned with my students at the end of the day and encountered the exact same situation! But the teacher, who had a planning day and was in the building, followed me into the room and caught her doing nothing and the students carrying on - and she knew I had nothing to do with it (thank HEAVENS!) ... I felt bad for the other sub - clearly this grade level is more than she can handle, as I said - she is very nice... but I felt embarrassed for her...
But I realized today that I actually am a decent sub and I am grateful that I have that weird invisible thing that my mother has (on a smaller, less-developed level of course) where students just seem to listen to me. I do not have a huge problem with classroom management. I don't pretend to know why... but I am grateful... no doubt about it!
Oh - and I booked three and a half more days while I was in the building today!