Tag: memes

The Ins and Outs of Being a Substitute Teacher

On this Monday morning, the door to the classroom is open. The teacher I’m replacing is at her desk gathering some last minute items for the field trip she’s chaperoning today. She doesn’t make eye contact when she says, “Are you my sub?” and hands me the sheet of paper with the lesson plans typed on it.

As I’m scanning it, she mentions that I might get asked to cover some other classes since she has two periods when she only has “teacher’s assistants” in the room. I’d like to ask about this, but I don’t. Instead I’m thinking, “This is going to be a long day.”

What Adds Hours

I’ve worked in education long enough to know that plenty of substitute teachers bring a thick novel and hope they’ll get uninterrupted reading time during their day. I’m not one of those.

Sure, I have my tablet, and there are always books to be read on one of my digital reader apps. Most of the time, I plan to use the planning period (at least) to work on whatever project I’m writing that day. Or I might whip out a blog post or two (like this one).

But for the most part, a day where students aren’t going to be engaging with me tends to be a L-O-N-G one. Here are some things I might see in sub plans that tell me this eight hours is going to feel like sixteen:

  • A movie (that will be played for three or four different classes)
  • Ongoing work on a project (like the essay in the sophomore language arts class today)
  • Silent reading of a text and a corresponding worksheet
  • Traveling to the computer lab to work on something
  • An online assignment (because many of the students will head off to a fun place in cyberspace and will conveniently ignore me when I try to redirect them)

This last one is what the seniors in honors language arts are doing on the day I’m penning this. They’re honors students, so they might be more on-task than the average class, but they’re seniors too. And it is the week before spring break.


Things You Wouldn’t Think You’d Do

Babysitting students while they supposedly work on an ongoing assignment is expected. Teachers don’t know what sort of substitute will be filling in for them (unless they request a specific one), and maybe the substitute won’t know the first thing out the subject matter.
Thus, I tried not to feel offended during this conversation today:

Me: “So should I expect some students will want me to check off this sheet before they begin writing?”
Teacher: “I wouldn’t worry about that.” Pause. “Unless you feel comfortable identifying themes.”
Me: Stunned into silence.

Hello? I have an English literature degree. And I’m familiar with Bradbury’s classic FAHRENHEIT 451. Are you serious right now?
But worse than that expectation that I wouldn’t “get” what sophomores are doing is the drill that will be held during second period. The vice-principal came in first thing to hand me the “procedures.”
I’ve already been on a fire drill at this school. But today there will be a LOCK DOWN drill. This is preparatory for a “live shooter” or “other threat” on campus.
So, when the announcement comes on, I’ll get to pull the blinds, switch of the lights and huddle under my desk with a class full of teenagers. All of them will have their phones out, and I’m supposed to keep them off those.

Because in the event of an actual lock down, those lights would be an open invitation to the threat that the room was filled with innocents. Not really a message we want to give out.

As the VP explains things to me (and I’m not a novice to this, so he really didn’t have to), he ends the conversation with, “It’s unfortunate that we even have to practice this.”

Unfortunate might be an understatement. This is the world we live in where people won’t even let kids learn in peace at school.

And then they decide to have a fire drill on the back side of sitting on the floor in the dark for six minutes. I’m sure you can guess how engaged those sophomores were when we came back to class 20 minutes later.


What Adds Interest

I didn’t want to end this post with a negative tone, so let’s talk about things that add interest to my day of substitute teaching. There are a few. It’s not always glorified babysitting (with a WAY better paycheck than I ever earned back in the day).

I’m a writer. I love reading. You can imagine what sort of things I’d find interesting when in the same room with teenagers. Things like:

  • Reading and discussing an article
  • Reading and discussing a short story with a specific purpose (like writing a paragraph on some literary device or element afterward)
  • Reading and discussing poetry
  • Watching a video that will spark a conversation that segues into an assignment
  • Brainstorming ideas for stories (a rare joy these days)
  • Class discussion when students actually participate

There are probably other things that have made the hours slide by in a middle or high school classroom. In the end, it boils down to student engagement and teacher-student interaction.

What things have you done at work lately that were unexpected? What makes the day drag on and on for you?

A Year of Gratitude

In 2016, I focused on building an attitude of gratitude.

And I really wanted to do it every single day.

So I created my own hashtag on Twitter and started bombarding my social media followers with a new meme every day. Remember? #365DaysofGratitude

You probably already saw them all, but I thought I’d share the favorites of my followers from each month. What better way to recap a year of gratitude, right?

January

d15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February

d47

March

d72

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April

d114

May

d143

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June

d172

Whew! We made it half way. Believe me, I was struggling to come up with fresh ideas by this time. That’s why there may have been a few similarities.

And you’ll notice how the format of the memes changed slightly. That’s because I hired a social media Jedi Master to help me streamline my all-over-the-place brand.

Did she do a good job?

July

d201

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August

d228

September

d268

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October

d304

November

d324

And the Last Month of the Year (if you get the Christmas song reference, comment please!)

d341

And that’s a wrap. 366 days of memes to remind me of all I have to be grateful for.

Now. Let’s finish out 2016 with positive thoughts, and hold on to them for the rest of our lives.

What are you grateful for this year?

Seven Days of Smiles

Smile! It’s Friday. Your face can do this. I promise.

Some weeks are rougher than others. No matter what, Friday always looks better when we can regurgitate the good parts.

Still sounds gross?

Sorry. Here are the memes. I included last weekend because, hey, I didn’t want you to miss out on more reasons to be thankful.

You’re welcome.

Saturday

I was at the coast. No chance I touched the freezing Pacific Ocean.
I was at the coast. No chance I touched the freezing Pacific Ocean.

Sunday

D171

Monday

Wouldn't you like to lasso up the Presidential candidates and get some straight answers?
Wouldn’t you like to lasso up the Presidential candidates and get some straight answers?

Tuesday

Am I the only one who's directionally challenged? Or the only one whose GPS steers them wrong?
Am I the only one who’s directionally challenged? Or the only one whose GPS steers them wrong?

Wednesday

I shudder every time I see this photograph. Some pets are NOT for petting or cuddling.
I shudder every time I see this photograph. Some pets are NOT for petting or cuddling.

Thursday

D175

Friday

The irony? The day I made this meme wasn't sunny but I had a headache anyway.
The irony? The day I made this meme wasn’t sunny but I had a headache anyway.

And there you have it! Another week full of reasons to say thank you.

What do you think of the new memes? Too snarky? Not your style? (The change is a direct result of consultation with the Social Media Jedi Master. She’s sure you guys will share these ones.)

This Week in Gratitude Memes

Maybe you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter. That’s perfectly okay.

But I don’t want you to miss out on my effort to come up with 365 ways to be grateful this year. In case you’re wondering what this is all about, check out this post.

Feeling a little out of sorts? Think life sucks big lemon grenades?

Let’s walk through the week:

Monday

If only cupcakes burned calories
If only cupcakes burned calories

Tuesday

Remember the anticipation of summer break? Teachers feel it every June.
Remember the anticipation of summer break? Teachers feel it every June.

Wednesday

Summer rain showers have a definite positive side
Summer rain showers have a definite positive side

Thursday

I've had fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries this week. Summer is delicious!
I’ve had fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries this week. Summer is delicious!

Friday

 

Although my friend reminded me I could use a compass to draw a circle.
Although my friend reminded me I could use a compass to draw a circle.

Count your blessings, my friends. Even if you have to dig deep to find them. (You are still breathing. The air isn’t toxic.)

(Coming up next week, I’m going to get a little tongue-in-cheek with my gratitude memes. If you see them and love them, feel free to share them.)

What are you thankful for today?