I normally substitute for ESL at an adult school. A classroom full of motivated adults is a far cry from a classroom full of wiggly elementary students or hormonal middle schoolers. But there is a school just a stones throw from our house so last year I had submitted my paperwork just in case they ever needed a sub. I was never called and had no intention of subbing there this year so assumed that I was off the list. But Monday morning I was called because they needed a substitute for PE. Sweatpants at work? Yup, I’ll be there.
I arrived at campus on Monday and braved three periods of junior highers who were definitely not excited about soccer drills and running laps. The day got a little longer when I was asked to stay after PE to fill in for a teacher who had chipped a tooth. So sweaty and still in sweatpants, I found myself in a 4th grade classroom teaching a math lesson. Means, medians, modes, etc. Not my strong suite. And the students also had to teach me how to use the interactive white board. This is a far cry from the overhead projectors used when I was in elementary school. After lunch things went pretty smoothly when we switched over to social studies and the kids just needed to be kept occupied until their teacher returned numbed and swollen from the dentist.
I really don’t mind subbing for elementary and middle school and there is a lot for me to learn and engage with. This is a formative time for kids so it’s special to be a part of that if only for a random day here and there. But with that said, I definitely prefer the adult ESL classes. I not only get paid more at the adult school but I actually get to teach subjects I connect with and am passionate about. And best of all I get to engage with and get to know students who want to be there and want to learn.
But whether at one school or another, substitute teaching is always an adventure.