Monday I was assigned to sub at the classroom where I usually volunteer. So...I thought, piece of cake, right? You would not believe how hard a kindergarten teacher works. You have to be on your toes (dancing?) You have to be quick to change direction and go with the moment. They come up and tug on your sleeve and have a comment, usually excitedly, that is totally off the subject. This is an all-day assignment with 40 kids. The first half starts at 7:50 AM but you are there at 7:15 preparing. There is your co-teacher who is responsible for her "PM" group of 20 little ones who come in at 10:40 with their backpacks full of homework and snacks. So there is an overlap of about 50 minutes where you have 40 little "squirmies" on a carpet squared off for 25 (each square is an alphabet letter/picture/color) Then the co-teacher attempts to teach this large group all about the calendar, colors, alphabet letters, and "news of the day" and still keep order and attention. She has me and an aide to do it but it is a constant retrieval of attention from the perripheral ones.
So I'm just getting going with my small group of six and the others are at their "centers" when I feel that unmistakeable nose running trickle and know I have a nose bleed. I have no kleenix and stride to the nearby office for it. None. Paper toweling will have to do. I'm now dripping "blood-borne pathegens" enroute. Kids are pointing. "Nothing's wrong," I assure them, "just a little nose bleed." Luckily there is the co-teacher and a parent so I can leave to the men's restroom and decorate that floor. I'm seriously considering going home or calling my wife to drive when I get it to subside enough to go back into the classroom with toilet paper sticking out of my nose hole. "Mr. B. what is that sticking out of your nose?" "Oh, just some TP." Needless to say, I was very cautious the rest of the day, especially with my breathing.
One of the kids had a birthday so we had his mother's bought cupcakes outside at recess. I gingerly picked up after the messy ones (most were not). After lots of "leg hugs" and sincere goodbyes I said, "Goodbye" to my 20 who had to be given directly to their waiting parents (in the shade, thank goodness) and then I got my lunch. The other teacher took over and I helped her, more or less as an aide. I had to stay until 2:45 so I cut out seatwork for the next day for the remainder of the time after the kids left. Mindless work but so intense with those precious little learners.
Tuesday I got the assignment off the website for a 2nd grade at my same favorite school. All Right! Maybe today I wouldn't bleed or have a leaky pen. This time I lucked out. The teacher was there and was pulling kids out to "pre-test"...she needed and got ($$) a sub to do this. On top of that, she had a "student teacher" so I just had to help her and observe. Another piece of cake, right? Well, maybe. This class had a "special student" who needed constant attention so he had his own teacher sitting right by him for 3 hours. I was assigned the 4th hour. Fun! I got him wrapped around my finger with lots of attention and praise. We did our assignments and then played games. He was happy and very good at it too. He didn't bother the student teacher or the kids the rest of the day. Earlier the class went to it's monthly, in-school library visit and he was all over the place during the story about Ben Franklin's inventions. Excellent library experience for most of the kids although they didn't have time to check out more than one book...have to keep to the schedule, especially if your are a student teacher. Here again, lots of "test practicing" in almost all assignments including the homework. Kids who came to me in small groups either wanted to get on with it or just "talk" (socialize and get to know the "sub with the guitar case"). We had "Team Teaching Swap" and my groups just wanted me to give them the "word-making cards" and let them copy them...no thinking, reasoning as to why certain blends and dipthongs made certain sounds (direct teaching, like I wanted to do) Two Hispanic girls glomed onto me and wanted to tease and "flirt"...they are 7 year old, 2nd graders. I had to walk away.
P.E. and our group of the 4 second grade classes was assigned to walk/run around the gigantic field. This is the one that I had never seen them use. There is a asphalt path around almost all of it and it is fenced off with high, sturdy iron-bar fences. There were two backstops but no base paths or marks. (seldom used) No soccer goals. Down at one end is the "primary/K yard" with a giant "toy" or obstacle course type jungle gym. Birds had taken residence so it must not be used on a regular basis either.
Afterschool I again had time so I started correcting the turned-in papers of the day and homework. No stamps, just happy faces with my marks. Soon four other 2nd grade teachers came in and they had a "grade-level" team meeting which was required on Tuesdays. I finished my papers with the student teacher and excused myself. I did hand out another "business card" to the next door teacher who said she needed a sub on the 17th. No problem. This morning, late (7:25AM) I got a desperate call from this same school secretary. I had to decline because I already had a job for today, half day at another school. Too bad...but I think I need a break with all this "dancing and ball-having". RRR