Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Million Dollar/Most Loaded Question In Sub History

Hey Friends!

Today is another excerpt from the Sub Files.  I'll just jump right in.

I was in kindergarten the other day and, well here we go:

Student:  "Do you know what you're doing?"

Me:  "Oh, yes!" (I wanted to ask, why can you smell my fear?  But alas, I refrained)

Ok a little background info for you all.  Before you think I was up in front of the classroom preaching 2+3=7, here's what happened.  The normal route to the classroom wasn't avaliable so we had to take an alternative route.  The student was just referring to my navigation skills.  I told her, "Yes I know where we're going.  I went to this school when I was younger!"  This later spurred the conversation of, "How OLD IS THE SCHOOL?!"


I was like I remember when I was 5 and thought everyone older than 10 was a dinosaur, too, but really!?  I'm 23!  Then they ask, "Who were your teachers?"  I have the harsh reality of telling them, "My teachers are all retired."  Then they ask what retired means, "Retiring is something you do when you have worked a long, long time.  Usually people in their 60s retire."  Then you get, "Miss K, are you going to retire?"  I answer with, "In about 50 years!"

But in reality this question of Do you know what you're doing? is a loaded one.  Like a bacon cheddar with scallions waffle fry LOADED question.  Do I know what I'm doing?  The answer has two parts:  information versus implementation.  Information part?  Yes!  Absolutely I know what I'm doing!  I've passed all the necesasary tests to become a teacher.  I've gotten Dean's List every semester of college, I played school every day from age 3 to...well now, I guess. I can regurgitate countless learning theories, reading systems, teaching philosophies, and behavior management strategies.  I know the difference between centers and stations, ABA and PBS.  I can quote IDEA (like a BOSSLADY!) and know every acronym under the educational sun.  So yes, informationally I know what I'm doing. (except with lattace math...that my friends is as hard as Honors Calc.)

Seriously people?  Can you tell me why there are arrows/numbers/boxes/and triangles?
I'm proud to say this only took me 2 weeks as a college freshmen to learn.
Yes I was in the upper curve! 

Now to the implementation part.  The answer, the true answer?  Is ehhhh, maybe?  Maybe I know what I'm doing.  There is a gargantuan difference between knowing these theories and implementing them into a running, thriving, shining, classroom full of actively engaged students.  That my dear little kindergarten girl, is the part that scares the bejeezus out of me.  Because guess what?  TCNJ doesn't teach you what happens when your "Give Me Five" or "Show me quiet hands!" Mumbo Jumbo doesn't work.  That's when you get creative people.  That is where the information part of knowing what you're doing goes out the window and implementation, and lack of implementation experience, stares you in the face.  That my dear little kindergarten friend is where I maybe don't know what I'm doing.  That my sweetheart is what I'm trying to learn and better myself at every time I walk in the door to sub.  I am just trying to wade my way through the information I have learned and some how bridge that information to implementation.  All of you vet teachers who want to share your "What Do I Do Once The Teacher Talk Glittery Gibberish Fails?" wisdom...please!  I'm begging you!

I do feel that I've gotten better at implementing behavior management and instructional methods but it still scares the bejeezus out of me.  But alas, that is the good thing about teaching.  (And the even better thing about subbing) If something doesn't work, you just change it.  And as a sub I soak up all the information/classroom set ups/behavior management systems/worksheets/lessons/technology/devices/seating charts the teacher has left me to decipher and process.  You study it, analyze it, revise, rethink it, ask (I always ask first because vet teachers are a well of knowledge and it's better to talk to them than think of your own idea.  They've been there and they know what works.  And as much as "it hurts my heart" (aka teacher speak for please stop doing that immediately) I know not all classroom management solutions can be cured via cutesy Pinterest behavior chart that I looked up on my lunch break.

So little kindergartener, in short to answer your multilayered question, I'm going to say, "I may not know all of it (or let's be 100% honest, even a fraction of it), but I'm going to work on it.  I'm going to work on it and find out."  Then I'll probably make a connection to a story we read and talk about how when Character A didn't know what the answer was she/he tried again and again until they figured it out.  Every moment is a teachable moment, right?  Yes!



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