Today I was a 2nd grade teacher at Kenwood Elementary in Champaign. I haven’t been to Kenwood very much this year, either because the teachers aren’t gone much, or they just have their own preferred subs. This is one of the few “balanced calendar” schools in the district, which means that the students have shorter summer breaks but longer winter breaks. This is about as close to a year-round school as you are going to find in the area.
It is also the only school in the district where I have had more negative experiences than positive ones. I did my early field experience as a university student there, where I observed in a kindergarten class. Suffice it to say that it was not a particularly great experience, culminating in my supervising teacher kicking me out of her classroom after I didn’t have an evaluation form for her to fill out that she was supposed to have. Early in my subbing experience, I was in a class that was absolutely horrific, and holds the distinction of being one of four classes in three years that I have requested NOT to be assigned to again.
Of course, I also had a great experience there this year, despite having to wing it. Today was a fairly good day, as well, and was, coincidentally, also a day in which I found myself improvising. The teacher had not planned on being absent, but she had fairly detailed lesson plans, so I was able to follow what she wanted done. The improvisation came when the class wasn’t able to handle a couple of the activities, so I had them do other things (mostly silent reading, which they actually did quite well).
By the end of the day I was exhausted and ready to head home. Because Kenwood is fairly close to where I live, I decided to walk home, rather than have my wife leave work to pick me up. This turned out to be very fortuitous, because some friends of ours who live just the down the street were moving today. I learned that they have been packing for the past three days without any help from others and had been spending the day loading the U-Haul. I insisted on helping, so I went home (I seriously live about two blocks away), and then came back and spent the next five hours helping them pack, load, and clean. In exchange, they let us have first dibs on the items they weren’t able to take. (But, just to be clear, I would have helped them anyway).
It was a nice end to a nice day. It gave me an opportunity to put into practice the principles that I find myself teaching in one way or another every day. Now I am going to spend the rest of the day fretting about the job interview I have tomorrow, and trying to figure out how to answer the most difficult question any interviewer asks: “Tell me about yourself.” I never know what to say. Hopefully I’ll figure it out by tomorrow afternoon!
Wish me luck!