THE HONEYMOON IS OVER

(Let me start by apologizing for the length of time in between recent entries. This long-term sub job requires a bit more preparation than I first realized. As stated earlier, I’m currently leading two classes of 10th graders through the process of writing a research paper. In the future, I’ll try to shorten the length of the post and post more frequently.)

As I’m becoming more comfortable in the class, the façade of politeness that some of the students were showing me is now coming down. I think the students were used to the idea that if a sub is in the classroom, then they don’t have to do work. But, I’m not that guy. Over the last two weeks, I’ve been setting deadlines and making down for missing work – just like a “regular” teacher. Some students are totally on board, but others say things like, “You’re not a real teacher” (My reply? “I am certified so I am a real teacher.”) or “These deadlines are too hard to meet” (“They’re not hard to meet if you’ve been doing your work.”)

I’ve also had a few students say to me, “I hate you/this essay/this class.” I should clarify that these students, like most teens, merely use the word “hate” to mean they’re annoyed with something. It’s not like they “hate” me like the way Hitler “hated” people (or at least I hope not).

If fact, if a student says they “hate” me, I usually interpret it to mean that they’re at least comfortable enough in the classroom to criticize me. And that’s some sort of progress, right?

In other news, I was asked to attend the staff Christmas party (woo hoo!) and the weekly staff meetings. I view these invitations as a welcoming act – which, as a sub, I didn’t experience very often.

The staff meeting was pretty laid-back. The biggest point of discussion was when the assistant principal announced that there have been 18 out-of-school suspensions since September. Last year at this time, there were only 13 out-of-school suspensions. A few teachers stated their opinions as to why there had been the increase (“the junior class is crazy this year”) and others offered ideas to solve the problem (“can we change the process so that they’re not missing school”). I found this conversation sort of humorous because I used to work in a school where there would be 20+ suspensions every week.

Another thing that I didn’t anticipate about the steady work was the fact that I would have to buy a couple new pairs of dress pants. Somehow, I “mysteriously” gained, like 25 extra pounds since my old teaching job ended back in June. I could give a number of excuses for the added bulk (lack of gym membership, the absence of a regular routine, etc.) but basically, I just ate too much crappy (aka “delicious”) food over the summer and didn’t work out as much.

Anyway, before this blog turns into a grainy black-n-white montage from “The Biggest Loser,” I’ll get back on topic:  I’m stuck with a limited wardrobe. Due to the added “muscle” I’ve packed on, I only have three pairs of dress pants that fit properly. As some of you know, I’m somewhat of a cheapskate, so the thought of not being able to fit into half of my dress clothes really burns me. This was not a problem when I subbed in different buildings. Barring any sort of stain or visible grime, I could easily wear the same outfit three days in a row to three different job sites. Obviously, I can’t do that now. In fact, the wardrobe issue was probably the only upside to unemployment / under-employment. How many people can get away with wearing the same thing three or four times a week?

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