For years I have worked with Jr. High Youth. I like teenagers, I am versed in teen drama, and I don’t coddle. I’m the disciplinarian, not the “fun” one. I like having real discussions and dealing with real issues. So, based on this, it seemed natural for me to make plans to teach middle school and stay far away from little kids. Employment on the other hand is a fun thing, it comes in whatever form it comes in. When the time came for me get a job what I was offered was a position teaching 3rd grade. I accepted. I know I could do the job, I’d already taught my own 3rd graders, but would I like it. Where would I get a good dose of girl drama and depth of conversation. The thing is, I really enjoyed it. I had a few shake my head moments when kids burst into tears over simple things or told me about minuscule boo boos that needed immediate attention. Yet, in the midst of finding my way through the lessons on regrouping and the diagramming of sentences I found out that little kids are loving. My Jr. High kids never hugged me. Little kids are filled with energy and enthusiasm and curiosity. I got to open up little minds to new things, and when I did they said, “Thank you”! Now it didn’t hurt to have a class of 9 in a private school that emphasizes order and discipline.
For years I have gotten out of teaching Sunday School, because no one in their right mind would put a class of kids at my command. My friends know how I feel, and with that I get out of all sorts of little kid things. That is until recently when a severe Sunday School teacher drought left me teaching K-1 of all things. (I have some fun in there, acting our Bible stories, but please don’t tell, I’m still trying to get out of that job as well.)
Yesterday, my postion ended. Today, I returned to the daily subbing, but in a middle school position. I hated ever minute of it. I felt like a babysitter for a gaggle of rude and ignorant people. I spent my day pacing around a room trying to maintain order in a classroom of students that didn’t have any deisre to be there. I didn’t fill any minds with knowledge. I didn’t make any lives better or brighter. I did not get glue coverd thank you notes, noone said, “Yes Maame”, noone thanked me for teaching them. I wrote up 6 students and had one removed by security. I needed to get help from security and another teacher just to maintain some semblance of control over the students.
I realize that day to day substitute teaching isn’t the same as having your own classroom. I know I can’t make the leap from a bad day of subbing to not wanting to teach any middle school history classes forever. It was a pretty crummy day, but it was just a day. But as I ponder what my future holds I will be weighing a lot of different things than i had originally thought. A year contract sure is a long time to hate ones job.
Oh, and one more thing. Turns out 8 and 9 year old girls have a pretty healthy dose of girl drama going on already. I might be able to get the best of both worlds.