Monday, October 8, 2007

Door Closes, Window Opens

Last night I got a text from the mother of the two boys I have been teaching. It said that over the holiday she had met with a group of homeschooling. Turns out they do a whole group teaching thing and she enrolled her boys into it.

Meaning I am out of a job.

While I was surprised I can't say that I was really shocked.

The fact that she found another group isn't really surprising at all. It was a bit of a blow to my ego though. I fully realize I am not the most qualified teacher, or the best at that job. But I thought I was starting to get somewhere with them, and being unemployed again kind of stung.

It didn't last long though. This morning, at 7, I get a phone call from the school where Amy teaches. One of the fifth grade teachers was stuck in Taiwan due to the typhoon. He needs a substitute for the next three days and they hoped I might fit the bill.

Truthfully, I am not good at quick changes. I tend to make little mini plans in my head about the upcoming days. Today I had planned to work hard on the new blog, do some house cleaning, and make some phone calls about other tutoring jobs. I wasn't expecting a call so early, and I was irritated at having to change my plans.

I was also scared. I've never substituted before. Would I be expected to teach? For real? What was the subject? How would I do?

I walked out the door to see that the typhoon (oh sorry it was downmodded to a tropical storm) was in full swing. The rain went splish and splahs. The wind went WOOOSH with a wallop.

I arrived and talked to the administration lady who called. She handed me the teachers "emergency substitute" plans and a print out of actual lesson plans for the next couple of days. Then she said "have fun."

I had to remind her that I had no idea where I was supposed to go. I had really hoped I might get a few instructions on what the heck I was supposed to do, and how the whole system worked, but I got none.

I arrived at my class and looked over the lesson. It was a pretty quickie on the ways and means that students do and should study. He's having a test next week and I guess he wanted to talk about study habits.

The school works by having a home room for the kids. This is sort of base ground for the students. They come to this class first, and again in the afternoon. They leave their books there and come back to collect or deposit them as they go from class to class.

They sit in this class for the first twenty minutes and then head to their first actual class. I had a very brief lesson plan for this period which amounted to "what did you do over break?"

The truth is, I had no idea of any of this information when I arrived. The kids showed up and I had my lesson plans. So we talked about what they did on break, and then a bell rang. The kids then got up and lined up by the door. I sat down and looked at my plan for the next period.

The kids continued to stand there. Then they got really quiet. Then they complained they were going to be late. Then someone finally piped up saying "are we dismissed?"

Of course they were. Who knew I was supposed to dismiss them?

The first real class came and they were mostly good. A few kids wanted to talk to each other and not pay attention but no one was really disruptive. Most everyone was very interested in the lesson and enjoyed participating.

The second class was more of the same.

Then I had a long break as my kids had Chinese and I wasn't due back until nearly 1. I came home and had lunch and rested before going back.

My third class was a bit more restless. They wanted to do their homework in class and make airplanes and not pay attention. I had to do a lot of shhh-shing and "be quiets." They weren't really bad just restless.

One little boy was very interesting. We were talking about studying and when asked where he studied he said:

"Right in front of my 27" widescreen plazma TV." And later when asked when he usually studied he said something about after he is done watching a funny movie and playing a violent video game. Most of what he said seemed to try to show how much cool stuff he had.

At one point he told me his parents lived in Canada and he was living with his grandparents where he would secretly watch TV instead of studying. Suddenly I could picture him at home with grandparents who have no idea what to do with him and parents feeling guilty about shipping him to China and thus spoiling him with big presents.

The rest of the classes were pretty uneventful. My home room kids came back at the end of the day for a two hour period. They too were a little restless, and I pretty let the ones who didn't want to pay attention not pay attention unless they were noisy.

All in all it wasn't a bad day, but I'm not sure how teachers do that day in, day out.

1 comment:

kellieja said...

Wow! A lot can happent to you in 24 hours. I'm not good with quick changes either. I hope the next couple of days go well.