Some things were fairly easy. Some were harder than expected. There are things that I wish I had done differently.
I would have changed the book in the Modern Lit class from Gatsby to something I was more familiar with. I regret kids didn't have a good experience with the book. For a while, it wasn't for sure I would finish the year, so sticking with the plan was the way to go. But this group wasn't really meant for Gatsby. I know that because I taught most of them before. Even with a whole class novel, you have to think about the composition of the class.
While most of my classes were high school classes I taught before, there were two classes of eighth graders that I finished the year with. I would have set my deadlines with the 8th graders. There was some taking advantage of the sub for a little bit and because my time, in the beginning, was open-ended, it was difficult to convince some of them to stay on task. Even when I told them I was finishing the year with them, I was a sub, not a "real teacher". Boy. Could I have used a few high school kids to fill them in!
It had been a while since I taught junior high/middle schoolers and there were a few things I forgot
- There is no room big enough for 8th-grade boys.
- They touch each other ALL THE TIME.
- Most are in constant motion.
- They are loud, even when they try not to be.
- They come in many different sizes.
- No matter the size, most are really awkward.
- Anything can be turned into sexual innuendo
- They think old lady subs are clueless about sexual innuendo.
- They want you to like them, even when they act like they don't.
Next year I'll be filling in for a friend when she takes maternity leave, and I think that will be a bit easier. For one, I'll be more prepared!