Friday, February 1, 2013

Back To Work

Taking a break from the homeless dilemma (before you offer me a room, read the previous post),  I spent these last two weeks subbing in the same second grade class every day.  I haven’t taught regularly in nearly three years, but let me assure you that two weeks ago I started strong. Within an hour I had untied myself and established order. Bribes should not be underestimated when the ratio is 17:1 and you’re the 1. They are to the substitute teacher what the swinging watch is to the hypnotist: MIND CONTROL!

I carefully followed all the teacher’s lesson plans when I remembered to look at them…but you know my memory.  I made sure every student’s needs were met, unless they needed to make obnoxious noises during one of my "be responsible"  lectures. Within just a few short days I became……..not attached……not bonded…..but vaguely  familiar with each child.  That’s the best I can say.

I’ve been passionate about teaching since my junior year of college when I realized that being an astronaut would make me throw up. I set my sights on a more noble cause (that’s not sarcasm, it’s true) and I have never regretted my choice.

These last two weeks have been stressful and challenging and I have loved every minute.  I may not have loved them without the bribes, but a great time was had by all.  It’s much like I imagine grandmothering will be….. over-indulgence, over-stimulation, party party,  then "ta ta"  ("God, please don’t let that principal read this"). 

The teacher‘s plans were spotty since she was not expecting to be out so long. So I whipped out some instructional arrows from my quiver of experience and watched them once again hit the mark.  By my last day, every child in the class could subtract one digit from two digits using regrouping (so it will only have to be taught ten or twenty more times before they retain it),  AND they were using the word "scrutinize" on a regular basis with their classmates (as in "Stop scrutinizing everything I do"). That cut down on tattling.

I worked long full days and came home exhausted. It reminded me so much of earlier days. I even caught a gratuitous sore throat and cold. What would teaching be without sniffling and bumming meds?

 So do I want to go back?

I see it like this:  middle age, retirement, widowhood and empty nest all lined up end to end and connected to form a bridge that has taken me from one side of life to the other. It was one of those swinging bridges for sure, scared the bejeebers out of me. It was high as the sky and many times I lost my footing and almost fell like a bomb into the proverbial "abyss" (I love that word "abyss"…… if a bomb explodes in the "abyss" does anyone hear it…..or get blown up?)

Now that I’m on the other side (not to be confused with dead, of course), I feel a sense of past and future both within view but just out of reach. I don’t want to be a full time teacher again. I don’t want to mother young children again. But… I would like to fall in love again…… and be a grandmother ….. and occasionally substitute teach.


  1. I just have to ask...does the "Noise-O-Meter" really work? Did they actually follow what it said ? Always love your posts!

  2. Janet, If they're really engaged in their work, they stay quiet. If not, you have to keep reminding them over and over. There is no magic in the Noise-O-Meter ):

  3. Did you break out the music and song to teach and be expressive with edutainment? I think you could really bond those talents and connect.

  4. I played and sang every day when I had a class of my own. But subbing..... not so much.

  5. I'd like you to become a grandmother too. One thing I know, I fell in love again when I became one. In love with the granddaughter and in love with our daughter more and more. Different I know but love is good.

    I think an abyss swallows up everything....sound, light....all of it. Just thought I'd add that. :D

  6. Debby, It's great having that new dimension of joy to look forward to. I love seeing the pix of your daughter and granddaughter.