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Best of Times

January 26, 2017

Even though Charles Dickens had no clue what a modern-day school substitute does, he would have hit the nail on the head had he taken his ironic line from A Tale of Two Cities to describe the profession because subbing really is “the best of times and the worst of times.”

Today, I spent 8 hours proctoring two midterm exams and trying (successfully I might add) to keep students quiet during study-halls so they could prepare for those exams.  I’m certain that I won’t remember this day on my death bed because it dealt more with the minutia of teaching (really supervising) than actually doing what I love best; helping students learn and making them feel more confident about themselves as learners.

Today was a far cry from yesterday when I had an absolute blast working at a local middle school and teaching several sections of SPED students.  In the first class, we worked on long division and that was as fun as long division can be.  During the second class, I got to read a story to a group of three students who had difficulty with reading comprehension.  I had them draw pictures to try to help them focus in on the main ideas of what we were reading.  I enjoyed the fact that I was able to keep them on their seats while I slowly read the story and built up the suspense.  In the afternoon, I worked with a group of gifted and talented students as they drew three bodily systems in biology and together we appreciated how far my probing questions took their discovery.

Yet, the highlight of the day was when I got to work with Jacob (name changed) on his Orton-Gillingham workbook.  The smile on his face as we cracked the code together and he broke down words like scintillating filled my heart with an indescribable joy.  I would work with these students for free if I didn’t have to make ends meet.

One of the students actually went out of his way to tell me he hoped I would come back because I had been the best teacher he’d ever had.  I doubt that, considering how fine his school is, but it got me thinking about how important it is to relate to those students in our classes because you never know the impact you can have on them – even when you’re proctoring exams.


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