Yesterday was the first in what I'm sure will become many terrible days of substituting. The scene was an 8th grade language arts classroom. This particular teacher left me an inappropriate lesson plan for her three low-level periods, and I just couldn't implement it. She wanted her classes to finish reading a story from their literature books and answer the questions at the end of it. This doesn't seem like such a big deal, right? Wrong. It's impossible.
What many teachers don't understand is that underachieving kids WILL NOT BE QUIET when a sub is in the room. They can't be expected to read quietly on their own, especially if their normal classroom procedure is to read everything out loud as a group. That was the case in this classroom. The kids were vehemently against having to read by themselves. They refused to do the assignment and spent the period acting like a bunch of baboons instead. They were loud, disrespectful and intensely irritating. I gave up and just sat at the desk in these three periods. It was all I could do to keep the kids from beating each other to a bloody pulp. In my sixth period, two girls almost came to blows. They were in each other's faces, screaming and carrying on. I ran to the classroom phone to call for help. The phone didn't work.
I was so incredibly lucky that they backed down on their own. I sent both up to the office after the incident was over. I shudder to think what would have happened if they had actually started fighting and I couldn't reach anyone for help. Nightmare.
I've got another middle school job lined up for tomorrow. Joy.