Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Subbing in Austin Days 1-5

As of tomorrow I will have completed my fifth sub job all of which (for some strange reason) will have been for Special Ed teachers or P.E. coaches (basketball and dance). Weird. Never have I ever subbed for either of these positions before but all of a sudden that's all I'm getting down here. My first day as a Special Ed English teacher went great with only one minor upset. The absent teacher was still in the building attending a conference and so would poke his head in every hour just to check on me and the students. However, when he did this in his second hour class, one of the students, angry that I wouldn't turn off the light during the movie they were watching, cried out "She's a B!" At this point he stood up and shoved his desk forward, "She's a B!, a B!" Well, needless to say, the teacher pulled the student out in the hall and the other students gasped. One girl sitting near me say, "Aww, did you hear that Miss? He called you a bitch! I wouldn't take that from him if I was you; I'd kiss his ass!" Well, I obviously didn't kick his ass, but rather took it in stride as I've certainly been called worse. The student returned to class, silent and well behaved after his teacher calmed him down and threatened to send him to the office. The teacher was very apologetic, but I assured him that if that was the worse thing that happened today, I would count it as a good day at school.

My second day was less eventful as I never had more than two students in my class at once. This type of class was designed for students who had been kicked out of their normal classes and so came to my room for a designated amount of time in which they could do their normal class work and hopefully prove themselves obedient enough to return to their regular classroom. I had a TA (teacher's assistant) for every class so very little was required of me. Nevertheless, I tried to help the students with their homework. However, when trying to help one student write a resume and after asking him to change his desired employment from strip club manager to restaurant manager, and then having him refuse to do any of the rest of the work for the resume besides write down the job he intended to apply for; and after asking a second student what his homework was, have him turn to a random page in his book, point to a paragraph and saying "that," and after calling his bluff and then having him turn to a different page one hundred or so pages away from the first one and pointing to another random paragraph and saying "that," I gave up. I went back to checking Subfinder on the web for an available job the next day.

This third teaching job in special ed was as a TA for students with severe mental and physical disabilities. I'm not exactly sure of the PC term for this, I know "handicapped" is taboo, so please forgive me if "disabilities" is taboo too, I mean no ill intent, I just lack knowledge. This was by far the most rewarding experience of the three. I played children's monopoly, worked on the alphabet and words, colored and drew, and sang with the teenagers. One boy with downs syndrome took to me, and when I left the classroom 6th period to help antoher teacher, he gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. He had a book that played each instrument's different sound and songs, and was delighted when I sang "Take Me Out to the Ballfield" along with the trumpet. One girl, Monique, couldn't speak, but sure could color even with her two small, crinkled hands. I loved watching her fill in her haunted houses and scary spiders with the bright colored pencils. Her diligence at cutting out the finished picture with two hands that don't work as well as mine (or probably yours either) was inspiring. She loved was she was doing, and didn't mind at all that my hand's or her teacher's worked twice as fast. She was a delightful girl, positive and silly, even when her classmates would get mad or throw temper tantrums. It was a great day, and I'm happy to announce that I'll be returning there tomorrow. The woman in charge of substitutes came in at lunch to ask if I could return on Wednesday to which I obviously responded, "Of course!"

So tomorrow starts day four in Special Education, day two in "life skills," the class I enjoyed the most. As for the P.E. classes, I could certainly do without. There's no teacher/student interaction other than, "Play basketball" or "dance or I'll write you up." I will say though that when I told the basketball students of Lanier High School to play nicely, one boy responded, "Miss, we from the hood, we don't play nicely."

And there you have it.

No comments: