Tuesday, October 12, 2010

buffalo for brunch.

A day in the life of...

...a Substitute Teacher...

can be summed up in one word: exhausting.

But for your entertainment, I'll elaborate. In August I subbed for my supervising teacher from student teaching, Dorell. That was fairly easy, since it was English. This week I subbed for one of the History teachers. I taught 9th grade Geography and 11th grade U.S. History. Turns out teaching is teaching, but it's a little more difficult when you know just about as much as the students do (and oftentimes, less).  I did have one student ask me, "do you have to know a lot about all the subjects to be a sub?" And I said, "I sure hope not, or I'm out of a job." They laughed. But I was serious. Luckily for me, I know the teacher I was subbing for, and he gave me the textbooks beforehand to read. Otherwise I would not have known that the only river contained entirely on a mountain in the United States is the Little River in Alabama. Nor would I have known that the Canadian city with the highest population is Toronto (although, it's Canada, so the answer was either Toronto or Vancouver, right?).

As frustrating as some of the students can be, and as much extra homework as I had to assign today (and as much as I'm hoping he collects it, or else I'm in big trouble the next time I sub), it's not too hard to stand back and look at the funny moments and realize how great teaching can be. For instance:

While looking up terms on the Wild West, one student asked, "So if his name is Sitting Bull, in the glossary is it listed as Bull, Sitting?"  The look on his face? Priceless. His jaw dropped open as soon as the words left his mouth, followed quickly by hurried apologies. Too funny.

Student A: "Does anyone know who Little Crow is?"
Student B: "Probably the son of Big Crow."

Buffalo were defined as: "big, furry animals that Indians killed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sometimes brunch."

Continuing with the theme of the Wild West, the students were writing dime novels (western novels once sold cheaply in dime stores) as an assignment and had a hard time coming up with ideas of what to write about (probably because they refused to read the chapter on the time period), and insisted they could re-write the plot to the movie "Back to the Future: Part 3." The English teacher in me was frustrated at their lack of creativity and willingness to do work, while the nerd in me was tickled pink by the fact that they, too, were thinking of "Back to the Future: Part 3" while learning about the Wild West. I mean, everyone thinks of a flying DeLorean and Michael J. Fox when hearing about cowboys and indians? Right? (Remember the scene when Marty arrives in 1885 and gets chased by Indians? Classic!)

I also got called "Madam," which was both mortifying and hilarious.

And, as much as I love my family name, Rao, I have to admit, my new name gets lots of funny nicknames from the students, ranging from MW2, Mrs. H20, and according to them, my gangster name, EM DuB. Goofy freshman. Guess we'll just have to wait till next time I sub to see what goofy stuff they say next. Now, it's time for a nap.

Vanessa, Stephen, and Anya

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