It was half-day 5th grade. My very FIRST classroom subbing assignment ever. Needless to say, I'll never forget it. Here are some reflections. I definitely learned a bit from today. You could tell how "green" I was... but I'm hoping I'll be a fast learner! I have to be... I came in 30 minutes early. I was at the teacher's desk and imagine my horror when there was... ABSOLUTELY NO LESSON PLAN! I looked for anything related to today... nothing. I had no idea where the teacher left off on language arts, math, spelling, anything. I was about to call the office, but thought I better be resourceful and just piece something together. After all, what was the office going to do? Come down and make up a lesson plan for me? So I saw 30 Halloween narratives the students had written on the desk from last October, ungraded. Randomly there. Great! One of my most memorable life experiences was Halloween 1994. It's a speech I've crafted and shared with over 500 people in the last 10 years and I've performed it (it's about 10-15 minutes long, depending on how much I decide to ham it up). I decided I could talk to them about their Halloween narratives, maybe observe the way each student began the piece of writing (and see as a class whether it was a good 'hook' or not) and then I could share my Halloween adventure. Of course, the reason behind this being that it's a 5th grade standard. Oral storytelling. I would go from modeling it to having students create their own timeline of an interesting event that happened in their life, explaining that the plot of a story is made up of events that happen in a sequence (beginning, middle and end), conflict, resolution and of course characters. Students would then practice in pairs then whole class using expression, body language, etc. I figured that would be good for them and cover a portion of the learning day. But then, 20 minutes before class began, the regular teacher walked in. He forgot about his half-day meeting and that he would have a sub. So he wrote me a quick half-day plan. Rookie Mistake #1: My class was lined up prior to first bell. They were 3rd in line. When the teacher in the 1st line called her students to walk to the classroom, I figured that was my cue to bring my kids in as well. It was a traffic jam, as the two classes were criss-crossing. One of my students said "What are you doing, you're causing us to bump into the other class. We were supposed to wait!" Oh, that was embarrassing. I'm new to this "movement game." I need to get this aspect down if I'm going to thrive as a teacher. I was off to a shaky start, but the morning was OK. The kids weren't too bad in terms of behavior. I gave a boy "the look" a couple times and I think it worked out OK. Of course, there were other boys who just didn't care. When that happened, I felt defenseless. I had to call a boy 3 times in his face before he would look at me. Rookie Mistake #2: I didn't bring extra material in to keep kids busy if the teacher's lesson plans are sparse. Before recess there were 10 minutes and I just didn't know what to do. I could have shared my Halloween story but without time for them to do one of their own it made no sense to share it. So I just gave them free time (for better or for worse). Most played on the computer. Note to self: come better prepared next time with a "bag of tricks" on how to fill up the rest of class time should work get finished early BTW, does anyone know of any good activities to eat up 10 minutes as a whole class? I did gather them in for the last 5 minutes and randomly selected students to spell out the week's new vocab words. Craziest note of the day, one of the students was innocently twirling his pencil. It flew out of his hands on accident and hit the girl next to him in her eye. She was in pain and I thought it was really bad. I was really scared. He obviously didn't mean it. It was just a freak accident. My first instinct was to take her to the office but I quickly remembered there's no excuse EVER to leave the students unattended by themselves, especially when you're the sub. So I had one of the "star students" walk her to the office. Thankfully, she came back like nothing ever happened. She appeared to be OK. Whew. We were in the library when the teacher came back from training. All in all, I was glad he showed up earlier than expected. I felt like I wanted a fresh start since I made some pretty glaring mistakes and it was just one of those days where you go, "Yeah, recycle bin." I did learn a lot, though. My focus needs to be on better preparation (i.e. bag of tricks) and learning how to navigate movement in and outside a classroom effectively. I guess that's just something you don't learn teaching after school classrooms (you rarely have to move them, they show up, you teach them, and then they leave to go home). Hopefully my next time in a classroom will be better!