My Week In Middle School Hell

My sixth grade teacher, Mr. McDonald, was waxing eloquent one day when he made the following statement:

There are three kinds of people in the world: Geniuses, who instinctively see what is ahead and plan accordingly, average people, who learn only from their own mistakes, and idiots, who make the same mistakes over and over and over again.

Since then, and that was many decades ago, I can honestly say that I have played all three roles in my life. There have been times when I have been prescient enough to avoid mistakes before they happened. I have also had the experience of learning from my mistakes. And of course, all too often, I have found myself to be the idiot who makes the same mistake again and again. I may not have been the genius in the beginning of my substituting career but I am bound and determined not to make the same mistakes more than once.

I really wanted to be prepared for substitute teaching but simply had no point of reference. During the first few days and weeks as a sub I made minor adjustments as I learned my way around. After a few weeks I was feeling pretty confident that my years of experience as a father would see me through.

For that reason I had high hopes the first day I taught at the middle school level. The week before I had taught at an elementary school where the teacher was with me in class for part of the day. She was filling in for another position for most of the day but was able to make several trips back to her class to help me out and was able to observe me in action. When we got to speak at the end of the day she was very complimentary, telling me I had done a great job. To the be specific, she was impressed with the kinds of questions I was asking and even more impressed that her students were able to answer them. This was not the first compliment I had received on my teaching style, so I thought things looked promising for the future. At the end of the day numerous students came up to give me a hug and asked if I could be their permanent teacher the following year. Surely I had a gift for teaching and had finally found my niche.

During that week I had been watching my computer for future assignments when I noticed that there was a week long assignment coming up at the middle school nearest my home. This was a real boon for me. Often I don’t know from one day to the next where I will be teaching 롤대리 . It’s not unusual for me to get the call mere minutes before class is to start, so having a whole week of knowing exactly where I would be working was a welcome treat. I was a bit worried that that the assignment was at a middle school, but honestly, how bad could it be?

I was about to find out.

On Monday morning I got to the middle school office early; I always try to be earlier than required. From the start I have sensed that those few quiet moments in the morning were critical and experience has confirmed that notion. While I intuitively knew I needed to be there early, I didn’t know exactly what I needed to be doing during those first few minutes. That knowledge would come with a bit more experience.

When I got to the class I found that the teacher had done a terrific job of laying out the entire week’s assignments. The class was language arts and nearly every day required the students to read something and write a response. That was encouraging- a plan for every day. There was also a seating chart for each class during the day so I could tell who was whom and identify the troublemakers. So far, it looked like things would go well.

A few minutes before the first bell rang I went to the class next door to introduce myself to the teacher there. One of the strategies I had been encouraged to use at another school was to send disruptive students to an adjacent class. This sounded like a great idea, but I wanted to know a bit about who I was sending them to and try to secure there permission first. The teacher was an amiable man who said that except for fourth period, his planning time, he was happy to take any of my problem students.

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