Monday, May 24, 2010

Adventures in Substitute Teaching

I’ve been in Washington for the last few weeks working as a substitute teacher until Summer term starts at BYU. Today I subbed at Everett High which is fun because it's where I attended high school. Also, my brother is a counselor here so the kids that know him automatically think I'm cool (and with good reason). The funny thing is that almost everyday I'm told "you look just like your brother" and "you look nothing like your brother." I'm not quite sure how I manage to look just like my brother and at the same time looking nothing like him, but it's a feat that I've achieved nonetheless.

Class elections were today and I was assigned to go to the sophomore class assembly. One of the kids who was running for class treasurer started his speech by saying, "Um, this probably isn't gonna be very good and I'm probably gonna screw up a lot." He looked at the floor during his entire speech which included him saying, "I want to be the treasurer because I like math and I'm good with numbers." I felt sorry for the kid and realized that a class in public speaking would do him a world of good.

Last week I subbed for a 6th grade class and it was awful. Probably the worst day I've ever had subbing. I'm subbing for a different 6th grade class today, but I have many of the same 6th graders as before. My biggest issue with 6th graders is that they don't seem to understand that I understand what they're up to. For example, one kid, I'll call him Luke, said he couldn't do his work because he didn't have a pencil. I gave him a give-me-a-break kind of look and told him to borrow a pencil from his neighbors. He said that no one would lend him a pencil so I bent over and picked up a grey colored pencil that was lying on the ground and handed it to him. I came back a few minutes later and he still hadn't written anything. When I asked why he hadn't done any of his work he said that the pencil didn't work. I took it from him and with it wrote in big letters on his paper "Hi Luke =)" and said, "Seems to work just fine."

Many of the 6th graders remembered me from last week. One of them said upon entering the classroom said, "Dude, Mr. Shality, remember me." It might be because I was tired or it might be because he pronounced Schilaty wrong, but I responded truthfully and said, "I meet 150 new kids everyday. Sorry, but I don't remember you." He looked rather crushed and said, "Spaghetti. Spaghetti! Don't you remember spaghetti?" "No," I replied, "I'm really not sure what you're talking about." He then sat down with an incredulous look on his face that seemed to say "How could he forget spaghetti?" However, once class started I remember him as being the loud mouth from the previous week.