Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#sol18 The End Again

Well, I'm almost done. Friday is the last day of school and the last day of my long-term sub. I'll walk out the door with the students for summer vacation.

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!


  1. So much for retirement??? I can relate to the 8th grade boy thing - when our church mentored, the first year was with 8th graders - oh my.

  2. Hindsight is always better, but at least you have a head start on next year.

  3. There's good and bad that comes with the long-term sub gigs. You lose the - "I walk out the door with nothing to do," but you gain the fun of building relationships with a group of students and knowing where you're headed every day. I'm glad your last day is on the horizon. I finished a year once with a group who had "ran off" five subs before me. They soon learned I was there for the long haul.

  4. Deb, it was great hearing about your sub job and your experiences with 8th grade boys. It reminded of the "old days" when I was asked to teach a class of 13 8th grade boys who were reading years below level. It was a challenge and a privilege watching them into readers but then spring of 8th grade started the boys on their own path-finding you they were with a primary focus on girls. Mondays were tough but we settled down and I ended the year on a high note with them. Thanks for bringing me back down memory lane.

  5. The boys are clueless about "old sub lady." You have magic that they have never seen, and you'll wrap them around your finger.