Thursday, November 1, 2012

Back to school

Last year, to supplement my income from freelance writing, I tutored Springfield fourth graders in English. But this year the company that ran the program, E.nopi, is no longer offering it in Massachusetts.

When the friend who recommended the job to me said it paid for her tennis, I thought it sounded like a good idea, so I signed up. This year I need something else.

I signed up for substitute teaching (a glutton for punishment?) but hadn't been called, so I followed a teacher-friend's advice and went to the South Hadley Middle School and Mosier Elementary yesterday to introduce myself. My kids went to these schools, and I saw a lot of familiar faces. Apparently I was familiar too; a staffer in the Middle School office said, "Oh, you're the newspaper writer!"

My friend told me not to go to the high school because they would grind me up there. She was probably right. I remember how we treated subs.

My freelance assignments come in spurts. Some weeks I am working on a few things and other weeks, like this one, are quiet. At work, some weeks were busier than others too, but at least I was being paid in the slower times.

Anyway, I was surprised to get a call at 6:50 this morning saying that there was a spot for me in a fifth grade class at the Middle School if I wanted it, and that I should be there at 7:30. People who know me are aware that I can be a slow-poke; they never saw me move so quickly.

The day was exhausting. I went upstairs, downstairs, upstairs, downstairs and back again throughout the day. I had to cancel physical therapy, but I got a workout anyway.

I knew teachers work hard, but now I appreciate their efforts even more.

The classroom teacher hadn't left very thorough instructions, so other teachers helped me figure some things out. This is not a very good situation when you have a room of restless fifth-graders waiting for instructions.

I kept a list of rule-breakers for the teacher to write up when she came back. So and so twisted so and so's arm. Three boys kicked so and so at recess. Etc.

I was grateful to one girl who offered to be my guide about when certain things needed to be done and where supplies were kept. She was a sweetie.

And hey, I learned a thing or two as we read about the Mayans and the Incas.

I ended the day by being a bus monitor.

Who knew?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who knew is right? Super-Teacher, join the club...