17 February 2007

In the Trenches

My hat's off to Mr. Lawrence and all of the other substitute (a/k/a "guest") teachers who keep the educational world spinning while the regular lot of us must be away from our charges. Yesterday was originally scheduled as a non-student day in my district, but due to all of the ugly weather this winter, we needed to have a regular day in order to make up some time. There was some angst over this plan, as the day used to be part of a four-day weekend and many people had already made plans for the holiday. Human Resources knew that subs would be at a premium---even though personal leave was not approved: teachers would call in sick.

In preparation, Curriculum released its pool of 10 dedicated subs. The 6 coaches were also made available to fill in classroom, as were all of us specialists (9 certs) and any other people at central office with a certificate. Out of the 25 of us, 2 were sick themselves, and 21 others were called upon to serve for part or all of a day. Me? I ended up covering a couple periods of PE. I have to say that this was one of the most boring jobs I've ever done. Meanwhile, I was amazed at the poor quality of the sub plans. Where was the info about what to do with the autistic kiddos? Where's the first aid stuff? What lunch period does the teacher have? And so on. Somehow, "roll out a few basketballs and have a student take attendance" doesn't quite cover everything one needs to know about a class.

I have to say that the best thing about the day was being with teens. They're such a kick. It was fun to chat with them and watch them play. It's a great buzz to get. The worst thing about the day? Teachers who called in lazy (not sick). At the Not-So-Pretty high school, 14 teachers were out for the day---and at least one of them had the nerve to call the sub and indicate that she just didn't feel like coming in today. Several PE teachers were out---they had a late inservice on Friday and just didn't want to come back for Friday. As a result district programs came to a halt yesterday while everyone else scrambled to cover them...not that they'll lose any sleep over it.

I'm looking forward to getting back to a more normal sort of day on Tuesday. Next week promises to have several challenges in the trenches I usually navigate.

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