March 20, 2017

First Day of School/Spring

It is only apropos that I find myself composing today's post on the first day of Spring. I have filled so many of my days with obligations that I hadn't been able to accept many substitute teaching jobs. In fact, the last time I was called and could accept was back in September.

But last night, around 9 PM, my phone rang and I was asked if I could teach today. I hesitated for a moment, as I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch, but I also knew that my friend would understand and we could reschedule. I was giddy as I said yes, I would be there, knowing that I would spend my day with a roomful of young people.

I am not sure how I can describe how much I love being in schools. I suppose you could call me a teacher groupie. I haven't gone through the work to be one, but I cannot really picture myself doing anything else. While I do not have a teaching degree, instead I fill my days with ways to be around young people. I am a confirmation sponsor at my church, I volunteer teach for Junior Achievement, and I coach speech and debate for a local high school. Oh, and I also babysit for my neighbors 2 mornings/week.

In other words, if there is anyone in the world who loves being around young people, it is me. Heck my own college daughter said in a quiz about how well she knows her mom, that my favorite thing is to talk with young people.

So today, knowing I was subbing all day, I sprung out of bed at 5:30 AM. My husband was teasing me, said, First day of school? At 50 years old, I blushed and then nodded knowingly, yes, I was going to school for the day.

I am not sure I can appropriately explain how magical a school building is to me. It's just this place of wonder and amazement. I walk in and see so much promise. I'm surrounded with potential. I am enveloped with hope. It is a beautiful thing. Lesson plans, students, notebooks, minds, oh those minds! Such gorgeous vessels waiting to be filled!

I am realistic. I'm a substitute teacher. I'm just a place holder who comes in and imparts a little knowledge that their regular teacher has set in place.  What I do believe though is that a good substitute can bring a new energy and enthusiasm to a classroom -- a fresh face, and different perspective. There was a young man in the front of my classroom today who announced how he was in a bad mood and that I shouldn't expect anything from him.

I looked at him and firmly said, "I expect you to do your work, because a job has nothing to do with your mood." The rest of the classroom piped in and quickly informed me that the regular teacher always makes him do stuff, even when he doesn't want to. I quickly discerned that there was more going on with this student. I think that is what a good sub does -- read the situation and adapt.

By the end of the day, he was smiling and fist bumped him for getting rid of his bad mood. Oh yeah, and he did the work he was supposed to do. I call that a winning day.


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