This is my report of how thoroughly I was destroyed on Friday when I subbed for a 6th grade class.
For the sake of not giving any person or place a bad name, I will not give out the name of the place that I subbed at and the person that I subbed for. Yesterday, I did a substitute teaching job for a charter school in Oakland. I arrived at the secretary's office around 9:25 am, picked up the substitute materials, and headed to my class. Arrived to my classroom about 5 minutes before the 3rd period ended. There was another teacher leading the class in a read aloud. I could hear a few students giggling as I walked over to place down my Xootr and my backpack next to the teacher's desk. One of the students spoke out to ask me whether it was a unicycle. I didn't reply to that since they were supposed to be following along in the read aloud.
After the teacher left, I was just following along with the reading. The bell rang and students immediately swarmed around me to get me to initial a box in a school planner for character traits that they are supposed to demonstrate. My first thought was how I shouldn't be signing things that I know nothing about, but I acted contrary to that thought. At first I assumed that they get these boxes initialed for participating in class. So many of the students kept telling me how they were reading when asked to. I was simply overwhelmed, so I initialed. While I was distracted with initialing some of those planners, about one quarter of the class darted for the teacher's desk. They were raiding a bag of fun size M&Ms. I yelled at them to get back. After the remainder of the class left, I was taken aback by that unified act of savagery.
I was scheduled to sub for 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 8th period. I won't go through each period though. I'll just state the recurring theme that each period exhibited. Each period had a few good students. But then, the remaining students were constantly talking, getting out of their seat, and not working on the assigned worksheets. I felt such a lack of control of the situation. My failure to get the class' attention and concentration was disheartening. I will never be so disheartened as to give up, but I wish I knew how to get their attention and to work on the assigned tasks. One of my wishes as a teacher is to be able to bring organization to a classroom that is in complete chaos. Sounds like a lot to ask for, but if I can do that, then I can teach anyone.