Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Fear of 4th Grade

Friday was my first official tough day at school. There was a group of teachers out for a conference on Friday, so the elementary principal asked if I could switch out one of my days and come in on Friday. Then he said that because I was the one being inconvenienced, I could cover the middle school absence and he would have my job share partner cover the elementary absence. I was happy with that. I told my principal that was the plan and I thought that everyone was on board. Things started to look a little fishy when on Thursday night, I had received sub plans for the elementary, but not the middle school. I tried not to worry about it. I didn't sleep well, though.
Friday morning, I got the email from my partner, that our middle school secretary had told her she was covering middle school and I was covering elementary. I'm not sure what happened, but the wires got crossed and now here I was on my day off covering a 4th grade classroom. At this point, I had about 20 minutes to study the plans, find the classroom and keys for it, and figure out what I was going to do with 25 4th graders for the day. I started reading through the plans to find explanations of the reward system (moving clothespins), the system for punishment (moving numbers), and the class reward system (beans). I was in tears...literally. 
Give me 100 high school students in band, I'll be fine. I'll take away cell phones and make sure that every kid is paying attention. Give middle school students on the soccer field and I'll make sure they run until they collapse. Give me 25 4th graders and I'm in tears!
Thankfully, I've gotten to know one of the 2nd grade teachers pretty well and her classroom was right next to the one I was in for the day (though I didn't know it when I went to track her down!). She walked me through the plans, told me what everything meant, what I could ignore, and what I would actually be teaching. The class itself was pretty good and while I stumbled through every single routine they have (seriously...line order, student jobs, specials classes...I still can't figure it all out!), we managed, and I survived the day.These kids were so well trained that the same girl kept turning off the lights and locking us out of the room every time we left it! 
I don't think too many people found out about my breakdown Friday morning, but they all knew I was out of my element and I am happy to return to middle school today!

1 comment:

  1. Funny..I always have preferred being a sub for K-4 because the reward system is so clearly defined. checks on the board, no recess, and on and on, plus it is easy to bring in a bag of tricks to keep them amused when the sub plans don't fill the day. Origami works well or even a rousing game of simon says. The hardest part is knowing the correct clapping rhythm to get their attention. Now middle school...yikes thats what gives me sleepless nights.


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