Friday, November 09, 2007

Back in the School Environment

Since I started substituting I have been very busy. I've been glad to get called almost every day, and mostly in the same building which is only a few minutes from our apartment. After only a couple weeks, though, I'm already realizing how different this is than having my own room with my own students. I don't have nearly as much of an opportunity to build relationships with students.

The other day I was subbing for a study hall and a student asked to go to his locker. He came back a little while later and reeked of cigarette smoke. He had been working really hard on his math homework. Then he sat talking to a friend telling him how his parents keep making him take drug tests, and he's figured out how to get around them, and how if they find him taking drugs again they are sending him to a rehab/boot camp place in Utah.

And of course, he didn't think I could hear a word he was saying, as all students think teachers, especially substitutes, are deaf. I sat there frustrated, knowing there was no real point in confronting him or doing anything about the fact that I suspected that he was smoking. Not to mention, he could care less. He obviously had bigger problems. The thing that killed me was that if I were his regular teacher, and had built a relationship with him, I would have felt more compelled to do something. He seemed to care a little about homework- he was sitting there working on his math for most of the period.

I don't mind substituting. One of the big perks is that I read all day. Usually I pass out a worksheet for the students to work on, or they watch a movie. Most teachers just make the lesson plans super easy for a sub, so I am more like a glorified babysitter for high school (and occasionally middle school) students.
So, I have read a lot of books. In the past week I've read the following:

Barack Obama's "Audacity of Hope"
"The Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah
"The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and "For One More Day" both by Mitch Albom
"Child of the Jungle" by Sabine Kuegler

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