Sorta kinda my first day in a classroom

Today was my first day as a substitute. I know, I know….I’ve been a “sub” for like a month now, so why haven’t I worked? Good question. Because I’ve panicked. Broken out in cold sweats. Completely froze when I look at the substitute website. Almost signed up then chickened out. Debated on which class to take then clicked “refresh” until they were all gone so it “technically” wasn’t my fault that I didn’t have a job. Ok, I haven’t broken out into cold sweats b/c I’m not really a sweaty person and I HATE sweat in general…..but I have done everything else. It’s true.

Mostly….I was just really really really nervous. What if I completely bombed? What if I couldn’t handle being away from Zoe for that long. What about my boobs????

But in the end, I really had to just suck it up. So last week I chose a position as a Language Arts teacher at First Coast High. So I had a whole week to prepare myself. And that was exactly what I needed. Last night I was cool, calm and collected….for the most part. I packed my bag, Brad packed my lunch, I picked out my outfit, set the alarm and crawled into bed…..wide awake. Poor Brad. I finally drifted off to sleep only to wake up at 3:20 am due to a nightmare about not being able to get to school on time and being fired on my first day. Ah!

We moved like clockwork through the morning, leaving exactly on time, Zoe did great, it was perfect. Although, I can not tell you how weird it was to grab my purse and not the diaper bag. I literally had to double check to make sure I was grabbing the right bag.  And then, on the way to school, Brad decided that was the time to tell me that the school I’d chosen as my very first gig was an “F” school. What??? An “F” school in Jacksonville means a lot of things….and none of them are good. Ya couldn’t have told me about that sooner???? Oh well…probably a good thing, I would have chickened out. Again.

I think, if you could have seen me, that on the outside I looked like I knew exactly what I was doing. Ha! Front office, find the room, find the security guard to unlock the door, greet the first class, attendance, we’re on a roll! The first part of the day flew by…the teacher’s instructions were to give them a worksheet that should take them the whole period to complete. He failed to mention that these students didn’t actually care if they did their work. Or if they got a grade. Or if they failed. My job…and this is what he said, was to “try and just keep them in their seats”. He said, “Um…well, I mean, you just kinda have to chose which battles you’re going to fight…and honestly, it’s kinda just not worth it” Wow. Thanks. The weird thing is that I think this guy actually really does care about his students. And I think, I’m not sure, but I think when he’s in the class he has a decent amount of control….but he certainly did not expect that from his subs.

So we skated through first, second, and third periods….and then, drum roll please, the fourth period class came in. Oh my God. I have no words. Honest to God…my one thought through the class was “I really really really hope nobody pulls out a knife” It was a controlled madhouse. Again, everything on the outside would have said that I was really calm and very pulled together. In fact, a couple kids were even talking about it when they thought I couldn’t hear them. Internally, I was practicing calling security in case I needed to. Running a drill over and over in my mind. Where the phone was. What the extension is. where the office is in relation to my room. I practically willed that clock to move towards 1:45. I will say though that the few “show downs” I had to have with students in that class ended in my favor. Although, in all fairness, I also had a few kids who left to “go to the bathroom” and just never came back. That’s probably not so good.

All in all though…I’d say it was a huge success. I loved it actually. The whole day I thought about what I would do if this were my class. How I would decorate the classroom. What my relationship would be like with the students. What I would teach them. How to make learning fun. What I could do to turn around the lackadaisical attitude towards education. I was, without a doubt, in my element. And it was….awesome. I can’t wait for next week when I can do it all again!

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