Last week, on Tuesday, May 22nd, I was called to substitute teach at East Oakland Leadership Academy. Ms. Dickey is currently the principal. She was helpful in terms of having all the lesson plans ready for me and having all the books open to the right pages for me. I taught between two classes. I taught for a 7th grade and 8th grade class.
For the 8th grade class, I use the term "taught" very loosely. I use that term loosely because I had very minimal control over the classroom. The students were not running all over the place. Everyone was staying in their seat and most students were working on the work that they needed to. There was a lot of chatter, but I told myself that I wouldn't let that bother me. I decided to not let my lack of control over the classroom bother me because there's no point in me getting annoyed about it. It literally accomplishes nothing. Also, its somewhat understandable that I don't have entire control over the classroom. I had nothing to do with planning how the classroom is arranged in terms of discipline, rules, and routines.
The 7th grade class was much easier to manage. But, I still couldn't get total attention from them. So, as soon as I started losing their attention, I just let them know what their assignment was. Again, there was still a lot of chatter. My purpose for being in both classrooms was basically as a supervisor.
I just walked around, made sure that all students were working on their
assignments, weren't distracting others, I would move students
around if necessary, and help students if they were confused with any questions.
I received a lot of compliments from my students for that day. I had three or four different 8th grade students that expressed their hope for me to come back. It was because I never lost my cool (for example, while students were chatting, switching seats without asking, moving around the room and so on). How do I know that? Well, first off, several of the students were claiming that they have a different substitute teacher everyday. One of the students wrote down all of their substitute teacher's names. They've had a little more than ten different substitute teachers throughout the school year. They specifically gave me their anecdotes of two of them. One was said to be a middle aged man who said that they were all worthless. The other was said to be a very elderly woman who became upset with students for who had dropped their pencils.
The 7th grade class wanted me back too. One student called me "sophisticated." Not sure what she meant by that. Oh well... I'll take a compliment from whoever gives it to me. A few students from that class wanted me to come back. Again, I assume its because I never lost my cool.
To think about it another way... which student would enjoy having an angry teacher? I would guess very few. Why? Because getting angry at people either makes them angry as well or just fearful. It certainly doesn't win you any support from your students (or people in general) to show your anger.
Anyway, despite having little control over my students, I was pretty happy that they want me to come back. A student even offered me a cupcake for her birthday. Another student was happy that our birthday is on the same day. A bunch of the students from both classes were asking questions about me. They were curious about me. I don't think they would do those things to a teacher they didn't respect.