Thursday, September 17, 2009

From a Middle School Classroom . . .

Well, this is a first. I'm blogging from a classroom during my break. Today is bad. Very bad. I am bone-crushingly tired and I don't know how I'm going to get through the rest of the day. My head is fuzzy and I don't feel entirely mobile - like heavy weights are attached to my limbs, dragging me down.

The reason for the badness is the intense amount of stress I'm currently under. I'm in a reading classroom and the teacher didn't leave me readable notes. She left her plan book (which I'm sure makes perfect sense to her), and a listing of groups of kids on the board. This is a Read 180 class. It helps kids pass the FCAT, our state standardized test, by implementing small group instruction mixed with computer work and independent reading for pleasure. Her periods are all double long, and I'm supposed to spend them shuffling groups of kids around from station to station. I work with the small group while the rest are split between independent reading and technology. After about 25 minutes, we all switch around. I only know this because I have subbed for other Read 180 teachers that left me excellent notes about the process.

This teacher didn't see fit to leave me with any notes at all. Just her coded plan book and lists of groups on the board. No advice about how to best implement the system. No information about where I am supposed to be and how the kids are supposed to act at each station. No freakin attendance sheets. I have had to cobble together the information I needed for today from my previous knowledge of the Read 180 program, various signs posted around the classroom and the kids (who are not a reliable source of information). This lack of help has left me incredibly high strung and stressed out today. I don't know if I'm doing ANYTHING right. Is it too much to ask to be treated like a human being in these schools? Is a thorough note, addressed to me, too much to ask for on a job? This is a complicated set up she's got in this classroom. If I didn't have previous knowledge of this type of class I would be completely lost right now. As it is, I'm barely hanging on. How is this acceptable?

The one good thing about today is that the kids are okay (very needy and immature, but okay) and the class sizes are very small. I have been able to keep control of the kids so far, but my authority is severely weakened by me not knowing their daily procedures. If the kids have to tell me the correct way to do things at every turn, who is really in charge?

I have only taught one of her classes so far. I have two left to go. I don't know how I'm going to make it through the rest of the day. I am intensely beat down from the stress of trying to figure out how to run her classroom. I've done a pretty good job this year of not stressing out over the bad behavior of the kids, but the bad behavior of the teachers is throwing me for a loop.

UPDATE: I'm home now. I made it. It was one of those exhausted, heaving myself across the finish line kind of finishes, but I did it. Now I'm trying to de-stress with some tea and bad TV. Biggest Loser, here I come!


  1. Your posts make me so frustrated/angry for you! Is there anyway to leave feedback on the teacher you're subbing for? This sounds like it's been an awful week. Hang in there K!

  2. Wow, I'm sorry, that's crazy that teachers don't think about how their students act when there's a substitute OR the fact that a teacher wouldn't think to leave you a lesson plan that makes sense! *big snakey hugs*

    Middle Snake love ♥