Oct. 22, 2019

Fifth graders are planting flowers (left) and designing a trellis with string and wooden stakes in a small container garden outside my friend’s classroom. My volunteer time in her garden has been curtailed (again) by a long-term sub assignment. Across campus this time, I’ve taken over a classroom of fourth graders after a teacher was fired. It’s a first for me. The fired part, that is. It’s my fourth time as a long-term substitute in elementary school.

Whether a teacher quits or is released from her job, the kids ask the same question: Hey, where’s our teacher? My job (should I choose to accept it) is to keep the students’ academic progress on track until a permanent replacement can be found. Eight weeks is my limit. Being in the classroom watching kids learn and grow is a joy, yes. But it’s also stressful, fast-paced, unrelenting, and a lot of work. I’m a retired teacher. I’d like to spend most weeks writing or working in the yard.

More later…

Nov. 25, 2019
Fifth Annual Fourth Grade Pie Day

It’s been very exciting being back in the classroom. *screams and pulls out hair*

We’re on Thanksgiving Break now. I’m counting the days till Christmas. Fifteen days can’t be that hard. *Seriously?*

Every time I do this I am reminded how hard teachers work. It’s unbelievable. I always wonder: How did I do this? I have it easy now. My fourth grade team shares everything with me: plans, materials, assessments, worksheets, teaching tips, and more. I don’t stay after school for meetings, though I do enter grades and data from home. I don’t receive phone calls from parents at all hours; don’t get texts from them at the grocery check-out either.

Even though I’m counting down the days, I’ll miss the kids. I worry about them while I’m their teacher and spend a lot of time reflecting on ways to improve my teaching to help them achieve. Yes, I get attached. But that’s what being a teacher is all about. Making connections. And so many different characters! A short story writer’s dream.

Teacher, Writer, Greyhound Wrangler