I substitute taught a fourth grade class at Cherokee Elementary in our little town today. It took me about 2 minutes to get there from my house. It was okay. It was for just a short while (about 2 and a half hours). I have a teaching degree that I could use to teach children that are in kindergarden through the eighth grade that I ultimately want to put to some good use.
The teacher’s name was Mrs. Rankin. She was really nice and helpful. She laid out all the details for what they should do and went over them with me. She said she needs to attend some meetings on Fridays. I hope she allows me to teach her class again. I did okay. I saw my sister-in-law there. Her name is also Mrs. Carlton. She encouraged me when I saw her. At first she was a little shocked to see me in the hall. She had to look extra hard. One of the girls in the class informed there was another Mrs. Carlton who worked at the school. I told her she was my sister in law because her husband and my husband are brothers.
I go through a temporary job agency called Kelly Temps in order to work there. To prepare I went on the internet to find games and worksheets I can use to fill time in class if necessary. I also got some pointers from a “veteraned” substitute teacher. Here’s how she starts class. She writes her name on the board and then sets the ground rules for the class. There are two rules: 1. Don’t talk when I (the teacher) am talking. 2. Be respectful. Then she tells the class if necessary there will be more rules added. I did this and it worked well.
My husband used to substitute teach. He has an advantage over me. He’s nearly 6 feet tall and weighs alot and has the general appearance of an older man. I’m different. I’m a small frame. I weigh about 110 pounds and have a huge habit of smiling and being real friendly because I like people to like me. I had to do something to change this impression the class could easily get.
There’s an old saying about teaching, “You gotta get in your bluff right from the start.” This means a teacher must let the children know you’re mean. You don’t want them thinking that you’re a “push over” and they can do anything they want and not care about what you tell them to do.
So I did that. I intentionally refrained from smiling. I was blunt and kept telling the class “I am not Mrs. Rankin. I do things differently.” While standing in the hall during a bathroom break I once caught a little girl looking at me as if I scared her. I looked at her with a glare and continued to not smile. I think I got my bluff in that time. Several times a different kid would come and ask to go to the bathroom. I would always quickly say no. I kept them under control playing this bluff game but sometimes I would smile or be nice. They were probably catching on I can be a pushover. I liked how the day went and I’m ready to sub again next Friday practicing more on my bluff!
I want to do very well as a sub because it will be “like a foot in the door” to help me to become a teacher with the school system. I’m not real sure what grade I would prefer to teach yet so I’m eager to get a variety of different classes.
I have thought about teaching history in middle school because with the use of the internet and interesting programs taped from television history can become far more interesting than just trying to remember dates. Focusing on one individual during one day in the week who has become a big success in history and teaching the student to ask “how can I apply this to my life to also be a success?” would be a way to make history come alive to them!!
On my first day, I wore a light blue conservative button down tailored shirt with 3/4 length sleeves and a small material matched ruffle as trim around the bottom and the end of the sleeve. Then I wore a pencil skirt with a similar small ruffle trim as a hem. I wore a basic black shoe with a wide heel. Basically I wore what I would wear to church. The temp service said we needed to look professional. So even though I figured it would be “casual Friday”, I wanted to look a little nicer than usual. I then wore a round sticker the school secretary gave me with my name written on it to let people know I was a visitor. I saved the sticker and stuck it on my mirror because it was something to help me remember my first day as a sub.
The class had 21 students and reminded me of when I intern-taught a third class for half a year during college. Here’s something ironic, I interned at another Cherokee Elementary except it was in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
I can only substitute teach on Fridays but that’s okay. I hope I’ll be able to work with Mrs. Rankin again and become familiar with the kids in her class.