For the most part I am truly amazed by how this year turned out. Basically, nothing like I expected.
To say the least, I never imagined the year after I graduated college being anything else but my first year of teaching. Of course, that is definitely not how this year looked.
At first and for more than awhile, I tried miserably to hide the fact that I was "so okay" with not getting a teaching job and staying in Portland for a big question mark of a reason. Even a couple months into the fall of 2007 I felt I was wasting my time and not doing enough.
November of '07 brought with it rain (which has never left!!!) and more importantly the beginning of my Adventures in Subbing. I'm not sure I knew what I was getting myself into when I went to the orientation with my notepad, highlighters, pens, questions and the same "game face" I brought every day as a student. Everyone else looked like the orientation was no big deal and that they couldn't possibly be apprehensive about the vagueness of being a sub. I however was scared shitless.
I remember walking on to my first sub job and thinking, "Oh my gosh, what the heck am I doing here? I cannot teach 1st and 2nd graders, that orientation was a joke and what do I do if I have to teach roman numerals???!!" Okay, okay, so teaching those kids for four hours was not as big of a deal as I made it out to be, but that's what I do- overreact, lose sight of sensibility and reflect on it later. With time, okay like two seconds, I fell in love with subbing and could not be happier with how this year turned out. (Unless of course someone could have paid all my student loans and found me a British man, but I digress...)
For years to come I will face challenges tougher than the stress the "year after college" created for me. I want to be able to look back at this year and remember subbing after years and years of teaching and being jaded and forgetting, etc., etc.So, this blog is basically a "Everything I needed to Know in life I learned from Subbing"- if you will. And before you enter the list I lay before you, let me also thank all of you (blog readers, my mother for always having her phone on and my dear, wonderful family and friends) for bearing with me this year as I pretended being out of college didn't bother me, finally admitting being out of college bothered me and listening to my endless stories about children after being out of college finally really didn't bother me. Enjoy!
Lessons from Subbing:
1. Always pack your lunch the night before (just like your mommy taught you).
2. Wearing a name badge really does make you feel important.
3. Having kids call you Ms. B makes you feel less old than kids calling you Ms. Brown.
4. High schoolers really don't care if you're there substitute.
5. Elementary schools really do care if you're their substitute.
6. Junior highers really don't care about anything- except myspace.
7. Being a sub means acting like you're bff's with the regular teacher so kids can't play you.
8. Having the Sub Finder system phone number on speed dial makes life so much easier.
9. You know you've subbed at a school a lot when the custodian knows your name.
10. Coffee is God.
11. Staff room coffee is the opposite of God.
12. Dodgeball is still fun, but as a sub you end up wincing and gasping a lot because you're afraid students will get hurt.
13. Being a dance teacher does not mean you have to dance.
14. Being a sign language teacher means you need to know sign language.
15. 4th graders are the new 7th graders- sometimes loving, sometimes hateful, sometimes jerks.
16. Animal Crackers are awesome.
17. High school halls are intimidating even when you're no longer a student in them.
18. As a sub you want to defend everyone, which means you don't mind yelling at the skinny kid to protect the fat kid.
19. 4th graders think they're old enough to say the words cunt and ass.
20. 4th graders have no idea what the words cunt and ass mean.
21. One day is long enough for any elementary schooler to think you're the best teacher in the world.
22. Getting "You're the best Ms. B I love you!" pictures never, never, never gets old.
23. I still remember long division just like Mrs. Lamb taught me.
24. Ms. Jepsen's perfect hand writing skills come in handy when correcting 1st graders hand writing papers.
25. Networking IS the most important asset in any working world.
26. If a school's staff room is the nicest looking it means they have the best spread of Friday treats.
27. 6th graders like to pour water in their enemies pencil boxes.
28. A personal supply of hand sanitizer is oh so important.
29. 5:30 am comes way faster than you think it will.
And the most important things I learned while subbing:
30. As much as I loved subbing elementary schoolers, I was SO not meant to be an elementary school teacher.