Monday, January 14, 2013

First Day

I love how blissed-out Cookie is in the Princess's lap.
Such happiness, such relaxation, such trust.

Today was my first day in a new long-term substitute teaching position.  Technically it's a 15:1:1 classroom (15 kids, one teacher, one aide, for those of you who don't "speak" special-ed-ese), but there are currently 7 students, two aides, and a teacher in this room.  An eighth student will be added soon, but it's still a wonderful small group of kids with two veteran aides.  I am so blessed, and in spite of my pre-job jitters, I think this will work out okay in the long run.  The only shadow on my week is the cold that seems to be stalking me - begone, foul germs!

The kids have varying needs but their abilities are reasonably clustered for instructional purposes.  I'll teach the major subjects (English, social studies, science and math) as well as some life skills.  Most of the kids participate in one or more regular grade-level elective classes (gym, art, technology [what we called shop class an eon ago], Spanish), and I'll help with those too for homework and extra time for certain assignments.  It's a nice, diverse way to spend the day - always moving, always changing subjects, but still a routine without too much variation day to day.

I don't think this will be totally stress-free, though.  The learning curve is steep, since this week is the end of the marking period and time for quarterly reports in core subject areas.  I have precisely one week to learn how to pull all the information together from several sources (computer-based assessment, information from the aides, and teacher records, which are very spotty since there have been a number of subs in and out of that class for the past two months) and submit it for final grades.  But, I'm not responsible for what has/has not been done for the past quarter.  I'm just the messenger.  The next quarter, that's going to be on my head, as it should be in a long-term sub job.  But for this week, I just want to finish out the last review and tests and gather my thoughts and make plans for moving forward.

I'd like to plan some fun activities, some hands-on stuff, but for now I have to focus on the basics.  I'm getting to know the kids, they're getting to know me, and I'm not going to make any drastic changes in classroom routine or discipline.  As we go along, I'm sure I'll do some things differently from their regular teacher, but I'm not out to reinvent the wheel.  This class has an excellent foundation and routine, and I'll run with that and just supplement it where I need to, for fun or instructional benefit.

So far, so good, and I'm hopeful I'll have a good time in this class for as long as I'm needed there.  Right now that looks like several months, but it could be more. I'll just ride with it and enjoy the kids and the steady employment.