McKenna LTS PS/K Blog

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by McKennaL, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Sep 15, 2009

    I'm going to be blogging my experience as a LTS. This is where I'm going to put my writings on the topic. I'm hoping that it will help me to remember both the good and challenging moments, as well as give others a view into the life of a LTS.
     
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  3. McKennaL

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    Sep 15, 2009

    Prologue

    Well, I NEED to write. (I found that out a number of years ago when going through a rough patch in my life. I NEED to have an outlet...and writing does it for me. Once it's down...it's freed up.)
    And I decide to write this here-rather than station it in some other corner of the forum. Unlike in the past...I AM concerned that people I now work with will find this. So I will be as candid as I can-but now need to consider filtering myself a bit. Yet... I am sure this will be my refuge on a number of occasions. It'll begin to feel like coming home.
     
  4. McKennaL

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    Sep 15, 2009

    Face forward... it's a job. Finally!

    I got a JOB!!!! :haha:

    I was called by principal 3 (who will eventually be given a different moniker, I'm sure). We had a really nice interview - and i felt an immediate connection to this woman from the first moment she called to offer me an interview (which was a call i received while standing at a express grocery check-out. I KNOW the people behind me weren't happy I was taking a call...but give me a BREAK! It's a Job Interview!!!). I hope that this will turn into an ongoing GOOD principal/teacher relationship... There have been too few of those in my life. I'm over-do for one!!

    I had hoped to get a job at this wonderful school as a guided reading instructional assistant... but instead have landed my first LTS assignment. A PS-am/K-pm from sometime in Oct and going for anywhere from 6-12 weeks. I'm nervous about this. I HAVE taught that age before (as a music teacher and also worked with youngsters in a parent support group while raising my own two), but as a CHOICE...I would never have picked to go down to this age. when I got the call...all I could do was buckle the dog to her leash, take a walk, and talk it out don't you love walking the dog? You can talk out loud to yourself... and when people see you talking they don't think, "That lunatic is talking to herself. STAY AWAY!" Instead they think, "What a wonderful dog owner. she’s not only exercising her dog-but engaging it in meaningful conversation too." :rolleyes: Brin is such a wonderful walking companion in this way...because she will look up at me when I am talking as if to say, "Oh, McKenna, I'm right there with you. And if i MIGHT say..you ARE brilliant!" :wub: For the most part the conversation went. "Those are young kids alright...Huh. ...Huh. ... Huh." It's a happy surprise to get a job...and a shock at the age of those I'll be working with.

    The district is where I could see myself putting down roots. The school seems to be a dream! I'd like to imagine this a the first foot in the door of a wonderful new career.

    Excited....nervous...thrilled...shocked ...all in one.
     
  5. McKennaL

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    Sep 15, 2009

    Beginning Communication

    Principal 3 was talking SO fast in the job offer phone call...and the moment she said pre-school my heart stopped. I NEVER wanted to go below second grade (the grade I student taught). So the words that she said after the "p" word were sort of a blur. I wanted to say, "Hold up. PRE-SCHOOL???? no WAY!" - but kept listening. I wanted this job so badly, and liked this principal so much(also knowing in my heart that if i were to get a job, it would be through her), that if she said that the job was in Siberia i would say, "Isn't that lovely!"

    Principal 3 said, "and I'm sure you would like her e-mail address...."

    A moment of thinking a million different thoughts...and not keeping up with the conversation. Don't you wonder if people sometimes think that your moments of silence might indicate you just might be dim-witted?

    "Ummm.... McKenna, get it together! ..YES!! Of course, I would like the e-mail address!"

    ****

    I sit looking at a blank computer screen.

    If I thought writing a cover letter was tough...I'm not sure that compares to writing the first letter to the teacher you will be replacing. Not only do I want to introduce myself but i want to let her (and anyone else she might show it to) know that this isn't some yo-yo coming in to take her position. I momentarily imagine that this letter will make it's way to her church, her in-laws home, and to the local garbage man. That's a lot of pressure!

    ***

    After a lot of blood, sweat and tears ... I settle on this:

    Dear Wonderful-Pregnant-Teacher,

    Hi! My name is McKenna. I was very excited when Principal 3 called and asked me to cover your maternity leave. I would be happy to act as your substitute.

    Let me tell you a bit about myself. (My teaching and educational background - sort-of my "tell us a little about yourself" interview answer. )

    I am truly looking forward to meeting with you (and The-Other-PS/K-Teacher who, like it or not, will be my sister in teaching) in the near future. Though I am subbing, being that it’s the beginning of the school year, my schedule is rather light. I am available on most days to come in to talk, work on plans, or volunteer in your classroom in order to get to know your students, procedures and curriculum. If you would like to get in touch with me, my phone number is --- and my e-mail is ---.

    Thank you for this opportunity. Looking forward to meeting with you soon!

    McKenna

    ***

    She and I write back and forth a few times...each letter becomes less formal and more like two friends talking. What a relief!

    It's Friday...and I will go in to see her and the class in the afternoon on Monday. Now to spend the weekend getting my house in shape. Maybe the last chance before Christmas!
     
  6. McKennaL

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    Oct 3, 2009

    The first impressions

    Well, it’s been a while since I have done this blog…a lot has happened, so I had better get back to it.

    I DID go into see the teacher and her classes on that Monday afternoon. She seemed very nice – and the other teacher (the one who works the same grade/and who I will be working hand in hand with) seemed nice as well. We have spent time getting to know each other – and though I don’t have all the names or job titles of the specialists (who come in and out of the room) down…everyone seems very nice and friendly.

    I sat down and got out my spiral to take notes on the class. The teacher introduced me, and I said (to the class) “Hi. How are you?” – NOTE: “Hi” or “Hello.” is nice. “I’m happy to be here” is lovely. But “how are you?” demands (in polite conversation) an answer. Said to kindergarteners in mass is confusing for them. :p

    As I was watching and taking notes, I couldn’t help but wonder to myself.. “Look how EASY she makes it look. Effortless. Will I EVER be able to do this as well? Will THEY (the students) be patient with me as *I* learn?” Watching them go through their calendar routine…. I had to laugh at my fears. They were angelic-looking 5 year olds, not monsters. I may just come to love this job after-all.
     
  7. McKennaL

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    Oct 3, 2009

    Preparation/Training vs. Getting Paid

    Ok… here’s a Biggie!!

    It’s the beginning of the school year. SURPRISINGLY (and unlike LAST year) there are more subbing opportunities – it seems. I expected NOTHING for weeks.. so a few subbing jobs a week is a pleasant surprise. But then… here is an issue: Do I spend time making money with subbing in strangers' classes (one instance and you never return) for PAY? Or do I go in and train..making it easier for me later, and THUS (hopefully) making a better impression (maybe a job offer or recommendation) at the LTS job –but for free?

    My pocketbook and my father (always has to get his advice in there) wants to go for the money. But my sense of duty and fear of this leading nowhere if I blow it are leading me to want to spend as MUCH time there as possible. This side wins out. Though it is costing me now, the experience is worth it. I am at ease with it, the teacher is SO grateful (and amazed) and the students and parents (parent/teacher conferences included..I’ll talk about that later) seem to enjoy me being there. All in all, it’ll make the transition easier…and save me heartache.

    The principal comes in and announces that she will be able to pay for two days of training (after I have been there for 6 –and will be there for many more). And I am grateful!

    I tell the teachers that I NEED to WORK one or two days a week (I need SOME money)…but will be here as often as I can be. We set up a schedule of the best days to attend (introduction to new units-that I will be continuing, paid institutes that introduce them to policies and curriculum that they will be piloting for the district-YIKES-, a meeting about the new report card system that they will ALSO be piloting-and *I* will be expected to make out within the third week of LTSing, parent/teacher conferences, etc.)

    Driving to the school in the morning.. I feel SO happy. It’s nice to actually be a PART of a faculty again. To have a place to go, people to talk and relate to, and mostly to TEACH. (I squelch the nagging idea of not making money, even though the bills are mounting.)

    To have a purpose is wonderful!
     
  8. McKennaL

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    Oct 3, 2009

    Instituting with teachers

    *sigh*

    I don't get teachers sometimes.

    Am I a brown-noser? Is there too much geek in me? Does etiquette run too strong in my veins? Sometimes i feel the answer to ALL of these is yes. I am not ashamed... but i DO feel like a breed unto myself. When I am at a presentation...i pay attention and DON'T talk. I even take NOTES! *gasp*

    While student teaching, I attended this GREAT institute day with this rep from our literacy curriculum publisher. She spoke on comprehension strategies...and she was SENSATIONAL!!! My two cooperating teachers chatted. (Granted- you are veteran teachers...and MAYBE you have a good handle on things - but either - can you learn NOTHING??? OR can you at least be polite and FAKE attention???)

    This time, we went to a presentation on the new handwriting program that we are to start. The presenter was outstanding-the program was SUPER. My two teachers (the one I will be LTSing for and the other) seemed to chat through most of it.

    I just do NOT get that! MAYBE it's that I LOVE to learn and be a student as WELL as a teacher. I don't know. But..I just wish those talkers would move to the back and let us learners HEAR and pay attention. I shake my head to imagine what they miss out on.

    Over lunch...I'll talk to lunches later... we discuss the new program. The assign the start of the handwriting program to me (imagine THAT.. I will b spearheading a program in a school -as a LTS- that will grow and continue on with the students for YEARS - and in a sense, since it's handwriting, will effect their communication for the rest of their lives. I pause in awe of that.)

    In the afternoon we go to a district-wide conference. 750 educators in a banquet hall. Mind you the speaker stunk... but the rudeness of the teachers as audience members amazed me! Are we NOT the ones who TEACH children how to listen and be attentive? To be courteous of the speaker? To search their presentation for useful content?

    It was insightful to have driven with the teacher I am going to be replacing... because we discussed this very thing. She started out by saying (besides-what a waste of an afternoon THAT was..for the teachers, but also $-wise for the district!) "Teachers can be the worst audience members."

    YES!!!

    But "why do you think that's true?" I asked. She replied.. "I'm not sure. Maybe it's that we EXPECT the speakers to grab our attention-that's what we demand..and if you can't, or if you can't teach us more than we already KNOW...we don't want to waste our time!"

    Maybe... but how would you know it you don't listen?
     
  9. McKennaL

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    Oct 3, 2009

    The Ladies Who Lunch

    I love to eat... and it IS a downfall.

    I have ALWAYS had meal-envy (and I see my daughter has developed the same thing). She commented to me this summer something that I always believed about MY mom. “Mom.. you always make yourself/order the BEST stuff. No matter WHAT I am having –or thinking of having-your order always trumps it!” My mother could make a tunafish salad on wheat toast seem like a glorious steak dinner.

    That being true… I am always interested in what others bring for lunch. Thankfully we have a fridge, sink, and microwave in our rooms. I think I will be going with a lot of Lean Cuisine’s and fresh fruit this semester (yeah, the grocery store has them on sale!!).

    But now comes the afternoons where we lunch. “We go out on Wednesdays.” Isn’t there usually a week-day when ladies do that? I knew it was coming. Usually I would welcome it (and in a sense, I DO)…but as a sub who is NOT going to make her bills without pulling a lot from life-savings this year.. it’s an expense I would prefer NOT to have.

    Maybe I will simply have to budget it in. I will NOT be the hanger-on who sits and drinks water while longingly gazing at the eaters. And I would NEVER be the nerd who brings their sack lunch to the restaurant. But this will HAVE to be budgeted in. We’ve lunched twice…and they don’t choose the cheap hot dog stand. (Ah to have a good paycheck!)OOoooo:rolleyes: <- dreaming (I should mention that one of them mentioned that she gets her hair cut at mario Tricossi's for $80 a pop. And I had to struggle not to spit out my food. If I can't find a $6.95 coupon to a neighborhood place..I get out my scissors and trim my OWN bangs.)


    ****

    Provided lunches… WHAT a predicament!

    You WANT to eat more of the pasta provided by the PTO or principal…but you don’t want to be seen as a pig.

    (Readers – unless you are model thin..you HAVE to agree with me!)
     
  10. McKennaL

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    Oct 3, 2009

    The Lesson Plan Book

    Goodness!

    (Let me start out by saying... I LOVE lesson planning. In college, I liked the challenge. Through student teaching i loved collaborating. I don't normally see this as something to dread...but instead an exciting challenge to face.)

    I swear that this is true -> The more experienced the teacher...the less you will find in their lesson plan book.

    I am handed a lesson schedule for the WEEK in 14 point font on one sheet of paper. Most sections have only a few words and that covers a long period of teaching time. And that's it. "You will be in charge planning three week blocks for the kindergarten which you will give to the other teacher to follow in HER class. SHE will, in turn, give you a three week block for the pre-school that you will follow."

    Boink...and that's it!

    :eek:

    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    give me a moment to catch my breath.
    .
    .
    .
    .

    Ok, summoning up all of my confidence..let me plan out a sample week and you look it over. See if you think this is a good example. My first attempt... well, it wasn't agreed upon. And though the sit-down was enlightening.. the last comment was "let's let this go for a while."

    A while? You are due in 2 weeks! And what if the baby comes early?? (I think of the LTSs who don't HAVE this time to spend with the teacher-or the choice I made of subbing for cash and NOT training - or DOING this charity (working for free). MAN! Did I make the right choice.

    I tell the teacher that i understand her wanting to let the time go and see if the new materials show up (which will guide the direction we move in certain subjects)...but **I** would feel better if I gave lesson planning another shot (a sample) and she approve or edit them.

    (Planning for MY class alone would be one thing...but planning for another teacher as well AND one with a LOT of experience - WHOM, might I add, is VERY organized and precise - is a LOT of pressure.

    *** So this weekend, I'm giving it another shot.
     
  11. McKennaL

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    Oct 3, 2009

    The kids.....and their parents

    There are SO MANY KIDS!!!

    I have a pre-school morning class (some 2 days a week-some 3 days a week-some 5 days a week), and a kindergarten afternoon. PLUS the partner teacher is next door (or around a 3/4 wall partition) and HER kids come in and out as well. Over all...that's about 80 kids. Good GRAVY!

    SO many of the boys have buzz cuts. Or their hair is a common shade of light brown/dark blond with casual green or light brown eyes. So many little girls with hair in pig-tails or soft curls. Unless you are exceptionally cute, naughty, witty, you mom dresses you oddly, or do something like cling...you could be any of a FEW children.

    I have asked the teacher if it's ok to take pictures and try to memorize them at night... and that hasn't been met with permission-so I assume it's not allowed. "You'll get it. You'll be amazed how fast it comes." Well, it's coming. But after a few weeks there are only so many i can name and imagine their faces.

    There is the boy who gets in trouble, the flighty girl, the boy who asks great questions, the trouble-makers from the next room (SHE has a bunch! Thank goodness it's THIS teacher that i am replacing) ,etc. etc.

    How I long for a way to orgainze them! I know that I will have to keep a student journal to keep each of their actions, progress, attributes, and situations categorized to just them.

    ****

    I attended the parent/teacher conferences. THAT is an eye-opener. But also it was good to know who I am dealing with, the goals that the teacher and the parents set...and since they included the student..gave me a better chance to see each one and connect THEM to their abilities and expectations. These truly are STUDENT-LED classes where differentation is expected and needed.

    So many students at so many different levels.

    The parents... well most remind me of MY time at conferences and as a parent of children this young. (I sit back and watch my teacher handle the conferences exceptionally. She says she is nervous...but you would NEVER know. She's wonderful!) I am with the parents on everyone of their questions and concerns...even with them on their casual attitudes - at times.

    But it is WONDERFUL to see the parents. With some you think about their children in the class and think (well, I could FIGURE that that is how they are...it figures). But others give you great insight to situations that you have been wondering about.

    More for the student-journal. THIS parent wants to push the child TOO much..(allow them to relax), This one is VERY supportive, This one has a troubled home-life and YOU are the only stability the child knows, This parent TALKS a good game...but probably is not helping much at all.

    It's very enlightening...and though she sees it as a bother this early in the semester (perhaps in HER place I might too), I NEEDED this time!

    ****

    BTW... i should mention. When introduced as the maternity sub...SOME were VERY happy to meet me and knew that I am going to impact thier child a LOT (in the young grades, I believe that your impact is greater with each day...where as the older kids impact over time). Where as some barely looked at me...as if I was the one hour babysitter for the children down the block. Can't understand THAT. And too bad for them that THEY don't understand the impact these weeks will carry.
     
  12. McKennaL

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    Oct 3, 2009

    When do I look on?

    Can't help but wonder when do I look for the next job?

    It's nice NOT to have to do applications upon applications for a while... but I DO need to find a job for the second semester.

    My dad, bless his heart, is ALWAYS thinking finances (good-since I am not). He is barely warm on this job...and wants me to keep looking for full-time work. "You could walk away from this, right? It's not a contract, right?" Well, no. It's not a contract. And, yes, i COULD walk away...but that would be suicide in this field. No, Dad, I'm IN this job. PERIOD.

    he doesn't get it.

    I asked my teacher if there is anyone who is pregnant- but not due until the second half of the year...she says no. The three pregnant teachers are all going in the fall. But maybe ELSEWHERE in the district....

    With this district---maternity leaves are NOT posted...so the principals find subs themselves (thus how principal #3 found me). I wonder when it's ok to shop around for my next assignment.
     
  13. McKennaL

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    Oct 3, 2009

    Hand Sanitizer

    Side note...never was a big hand-sanitizerer.

    Now... I want to bathe in it. (Could I be becoming a germ-a-phobe? Or have I seen too many little kids wipe their snot on things?)
     
  14. McKennaL

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    Oct 15, 2009

    Making the final preparations

    Well..

    I have spent the last week making preparations, both at this school and at my home, for my new life during the assignment.

    At home, I am trying to get the home cleaned...not as easy as it sounds - and not enough is getting done.

    At school, I am learning all the things that will need to get done over the next few months. The clerical things to keep up on. Where everything is stored. The time-lines. And the important things I need to get done - including the piloting of a new report card system.

    I THINK I am ready to take it. I think that that part of me that ISN'T ready yet is a slice of laziness that has relied on her being there for me and answering the questions i have. In a few days, i need to do it on my own. And THEN I will HAVE to pull myself up by my boot straps.

    ****

    As this teacher...I get my own laptop, mail address, keys and codes. Might not sound like anything special to experienced teachers....but for someone who spent SO much time on the job-seekers board...it is INCREDIBLE!

    The other day I walked into the room and stopped to say...this is MY room! And it was SUCH a rush of emotions. Pride. Excitement. Fear. Anticipation.

    ****

    Part of me is feeling like I am going to ROCK this assignment!

    Part of me is feeling ... ummm... a bit inferior in the situation. A lack of self confidence...and wondering what others are thinking. I am asking others "was that ok? Do you have any suggestions or comments?" but I wonder if they are telling me the truth when they say that I doing ok. (And torn between wanting feedback and fearing that they will see me as needy - asking to be spoon-fed and patted on the back through everything.)

    I should mention...they have a new aide in the class. The old aide was ...pushed out. And I DO mean pushed. And you know that old saying "if they talk about others (gossip/slams) in front of you - they'll do the same about you when you aren't there." And that makes me uncomfortable and not trusting in the words of others who surround me. What IS their opinion of how I am doing? (I guess if they weren't happy they COULD dump me before i started rather than have me screw up. So should I see the fact that i am NOT fired a GOOD sign that i am approved of?)

    ****

    I didn't know how the teacher would want to face these final days... Spend last moments with her students? Or rest. She is choosing to do as little as possible - which is fine. I understand... I had two kids myself.

    ****

    But...

    I feel like... such a sub. Not the teacher I am feeling I SHOULD feel like. But like... a sub who is talked AROUND by the others in the room and not considered.

    This is MORE than subbing...I'll be these kids TEACHER. I'll be planning, teaching, assessing, handling the issues, managing the classroom.
    Yet.. at times it's like... I'm just a stranger who decided to walk through the room at the time.

    ****

    I'm questioning ...a LOT. What is better? An Instructional aide position? or a LTS? the instructional aides here - don't plan, they come in and fulfill the instructions that OTHER people plan...and not hard plans. The LTS..well... does it take MORE confidence in a person to hire them to fill the spot of an actual teacher. BE the (certified - complete) teacher for a while.

    I am proud to do what i'm doing...yet... I wonder, why was I turned down for those Instructional aide positions when i could have EASILY done that job? If THIS is a more prestigious position that you need to hire a great person for...why wouldn't they have wanted me on staff ALL year long?

    ****

    Getting back to the other subject.

    The two teachers and the principal were talking about the kindergartens, their challenges, and assessments. As I mentioned elsewhere in the forums, these two teachers recently received school and district accolades for doing EXCEPTIONALLY well by producing so many highly prepared students for first grade with the lowest ratio of tiered 2 and 3 to tiered 1 students. They DID do a great job.

    But here they were discussing this year's challenges (including changing a few tougher students out of the other teacher's room and placing them into my room). But instead of saying.."McKenna we are confident that YOU can get them straightened out"...it's "*C*, you can handle it." Wait...isn't *C* leaving for 2.5 months? By the time she returns - shouldn't i either have straightened them out or other arrangements been made? So if *I* am the one to deal with it...why am I being treated like I not only am not EVEN in the room? I don't even exist? The discussion seems only to be about what January will hold when the teacher returns...(the other teacher even said.. "I have so much in FRONT of me now - how will *I* do it?")... and I felt ABSOLUTELY invisible. Am *I* not going to be there...and bring these kids up to January? What if I bring them through with HUGELY flying colors? What if the two things *I* (someone who hasn't even been officially hired as a teacher in this district) am piloting - the report card and a brand new handwriting program...are INCREDIBLY successful (which is the direction they are heading)? Will it be..."McKenna did so well" ...or "thank GOD, *C* is back - and *M.D.* held the fort while she was gone"?

    I felt that I could have stood up and walked out of the room and there would be no difference in anything. Yes, *C* is going..and even *I* will miss her..but how about a "McKenna - you'll do a great job-we obviously have confidence in you since you were brought on board to handle this."?

    Feeling a little discouraged...

    But I recall my father's encouraging words from when I was a child and faced a situation (somewhat) like this. "McKenna, they just don't know yet that they are in the presence of greatness. It'll take them a bit of time to see what *I* already know. You ARE going to do great, and I'm proud of you."

    Thinking.... shoulders back...

    I'm gonna ROCK this assignment!
     
  15. McKennaL

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    Oct 16, 2009

    The "last day before" begins...

    Waking up with confidence that i am going to show EVERYONE that asking me to fill these shoes was the RIGHT choice. It's my long-term INTERVIEW.

    Shake off the doubt...CONFIDENCE!

    Here we go.
     
  16. stillkickin

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    Oct 16, 2009

    Go girl

    McKenna, I'm enjoying the heck out of your blog because I am going through the same emotional roller coaster over my LTS K job coming up on Monday. I had been shmoozin' this district for over a year at every job I went on and no interviews. It took a long time to gain respect since I was "just a sub" but eventually word got out that I was certified, qualified and experienced and this opportunity came up. From that moment my focus has been on this pregnant teacher and her students. My hubby couldn't believe I'd give up assignments to be on call for this job. As I told the teacher and her team members (who would have imput if I ever get an actual interview sometime in the future), I will do whatever it takes to do what is best for those kids and to making it as easy on her so she can turn her attention to giving birth and her new family life. So I committed myself to making as smooth a transition as possible and keeping the high standards she has established. She responded by deciding to leave two weeks early to rest up and letting me take over.

    Meanwhile, I'm hoping I'm actually able to pull this off. I woke from an awful DREAM this morning in which I was being observed by the teacher as I worked with the class and suddenly she sits down, starts crying and says, "this won't work out, they'll have to find someone else." I am an experienced K teacher with grad school credits in Early Childhood development. I was teaching before this woman was born and I could teach PK, K and 1st grade in my sleep and STILL, I have butterflies and doubts.

    You are doing all the right things and you seem to care so much about doing your best. You go get 'em. That is one lucky teacher and class.
     
  17. SwOcean Gal

    SwOcean Gal Devotee

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    Oct 16, 2009

    Keep up the posting! I love to read about your adventures! I am in my final year for my BS. So I am missing being in the classroom as the teacher. Lately, all I have been able to do is observe- although the beginning of next month I do get to take over a second grade for three half hour sessions, not much. At least subbing, I always had the most fabulous teachers and I got to teach! I had mostly requests so I got real lessons left for me. I miss it. I love reading about your days though! Great post! Keep it up, I can't wait to read more!
     
  18. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Oct 17, 2009

    Her Last Day

    Well....

    I like *C*. Maybe...for as much as one can say of another in SUCH a short time of knowing them...I love *C*. I truly thought that we had very similar senses of humor, personalities, and thoughts about teaching. (Of the two...I sort-of wish it was *C* who was staying, and *MD* who was leavng on maternity leave) She will be sadly missed - even by me. I wish her the VERY best with this new baby - her third. She is going through that - I'm ready! phase...though wisdom and experience is telling her that she couldn't possibly be ready for all the changes still to come.

    Today was filled with people coming in and dropping off gifts and well-wishes. I watched her (perhaps due to MY age - 50) as a mom would look onto her daughter. Pride, love, and excitement. I, and *MD* (the other K teacher-and the ying to *C*'s yang), were very clued into every little change in her expression. At the end of the day there WAS a contraction...but she weathered through it and it didn't repeat.

    We all, the I.A.s, specialists, and anyone who had something to do in the room, went out to lunch and discussed pregnancy/delivery stories ...which freaked *MD* (one of the only child-less women there) out. What fun! What anticipation!

    *****

    Driving to lunch in the back seat with these women... i got that weird feeling that i get from time to time. If my life were a book, and if you opened it up to random pages... you would see me in situations with people (or in places) that would never have happened a short while before. And a feeling comes over me when I hit those moments of.."How did I get HERE???" - But at the moment it feels so natural.

    *****

    I am told that the literacy specialist (of whom I was going to take over HER "approaching" intervention group and she was going to take *C*'s "OMG Tier 3" group - leaving me to feel as if I couldn't be trusted with "OMG Tier 3" kid teaching) that SHE would prefer to stay with her "approaching" group for a while longer...and allow me to stay with *C*'s group who are simply working on recognizing the letters in THEIR names and writing them over and over (rainbow writing, clay letters, wiki-sticks, shaving cream....over and over).

    And I think... what? Doesn't she TRUST me with the "approaching group"? I have to do one of those V-8 knocks in the head to myself. McKenna...get a life. All you worry about is that you aren't trusted to do anything you aren't CURRENTLY doing. Be PROUD of what you ARE doing!

    You've got the JOB! That is an acknowledgment in the FIRST place!

    *****

    When *C* was out of the room, I whispered to the kids that this was *C*'s last day. "Remember? We mentioned that Mrs. *C* had a baby in her tummy. Well it's almost time for the baby to be born. This is her last day. So we are going to give her a gift today. The gift IS...we are going to be on our VERY best behavior today. No problems. No arguments. The best students we can be."

    Later in the afternoon, one of the intervention teachers had to ask one of the boys to flip his card (behavior management) and he said..but he can't. "Not on Mrs. *C*'s last DAY!" Sorry, you should of thought of that before. Following that he was an angel and got his card re-flipped.

    *****

    I mentioned to *C* that I would like to take time the last day to go through the roster of both the Pre-K am and the K pm...and do a little Word association with her. I say a name...and you give me any last comments that you think I should keep in mind regarding them.

    I'm glad I did this. I was reminded of bi-lingual home environments, quirks to watch out for, emotions under the surface, goals to be worked towards, allergies, this mom nit-picks everything-beware, and parent situations (mom/dad is NOT allowed to pick this child up. or - make sure you send copies of EVERYTHING to BOTH parents).

    I am keeping a little notebook page on EACH child to keep everyone straight. A picture at the top ... personality traits, information, challenges, and goals.

    *****

    At one point we (*MD* and I) were talking about assessments and the new report cards. She said...we need to work on this. We'll start planning how we will do this on Monday. And for the first time I felt that *MD* acknowledged that I am a teacher... and HER new yang.

    I laughed as I told her (only HALF kidding) that the one thing I was thinking of adding to the room was one of those grocery store mirrors strategically placed so that I could see into HER room and make sure my timing was keeping pace. She said... "no, I can hear you in that room...and you and I are, more and more, within seconds of each other.
    You are....... (wait for it).... doing a great job."

    WHOA!!!!! Coming from *MD* who talks a mile a minute, is uber-organized, but is not quick to compliment...THIS is HUGE praise!

    I can die a happy woman.

    *****

    I held back at the very end and allowed *C* to have the final story-time with the children. She read them the Franklin book about welcoming a new baby sister...and I could tell the sentiment was getting to her (a rare break in her voice gave the clue). But when the bell rang the kids forgot all about her last day and rushed to line up. "Well, so much for good-byes," she laughed. (Ah...the attention span of 5 year olds.)

    *****

    We talked to *C* a while...but then (after that contraction) she said she was going to head home and nap. We (*MD* and I) hugged her ...and... I don't remember her walking out...but then .... she was gone.

    *MD* turned without a word and walked to her side of the room. And I walked to mine (separated by the 2/3 wall).

    *****

    Silence

    *****

    I organize a bit and then have to sit back....

    Silence

    *****

    I look around...

    Silence

    *****


    *****


    *****

    It's going to sound strange... but I equate the feeling I had at THAT moment to the feeling I had shortly after I found out that my mom had passed away. Like... silently floating in space (imagine the scene near the end of 2001, A Space Odyssey where one astronaut's line, which had connected him to the ship, was cut...and he just floated off). Here I am...and the cord is cut.

    No turning back.



    I'm on my own.



    Excitement will return in a bit...but for this moment, but in this empty room which I didn't even know existed a month and a half ago...


    I silently cry.





    I am all alone.
     
  19. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Oct 30, 2009

    Gotta catch up...meanwhile...

    I have noticed that every morning I wake up and stand - sleepily - before the mirror trying to pass judgement on ... "Is that pink-eye or is my body trying to revolt against me/this job?"
     

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