"I don't mean to offend you, but..."
This began two comments I received from students as I introduced myself to them the last couple of days. I'm substitute teaching. The two ends to the above were, "is that shirt from India?" and "I think you'd look better with a purple lanyard instead of green." Neither comment offended me, though apparently my clothing choice and lanyard color were offensive to some of my students.
It's fun to be back in the classroom, especially at Trinity. I love the energy that circulates through schools. Though I don't know many of the students any more, the vibe of the school is familiar. When I first went to work at Trinity, I was terrified of high school boys - taller than me, hormonal, unpredictable (for someone not accustomed to them), high school boys. I learned that while they are taller than me and their hormones do dictate many of their actions, high school boys are fairly predictable and can be much sweeter than they're given credit for.
Most of the classes I have are freshmen, so they don't know I taught at Trinity previously. "If you think you're going to get away with anything because there's a sub in the room, you can just put that notion aside. I taught here six years and I know the ropes." I haven't had too many problems. Most freshmen are still in the wide-eyed, we're-the-youngest-ones, fearful stage of their high school career.
I've been subbing for the same teacher for three days. I'm remembering how quickly teachers know what they're up against with each class. After just one day with a group, you get a pretty good idea of what you're in for for the semester or year. Thoughts from the first days tend to be things like... Next time I make seating chart, he needs to be close to me... He'll need some hand-holding... He'll need some reining in... He'll need some drawing out. These are my talkers... It's not usually a good thing if a teacher knows a kid's name on the first day. Don't get me wrong, my classes have been pretty good, but there are those few boys whose names I learned before the end of one period. Oh, boy.
I think the highlight of my subbing so far, however, came today, when I took a water balloon away from a student. Yep, a water balloon. I have no idea where it came from. The boy (a sophomore) assured me that he wasn't planning on doing anything with it until after school. He was surprised when 1) I didn't give it back to him at the end of class and 2) that I'd give him a jug (detention) because "it wasn't distracting anyone." Sometimes the lessons learned in school have nothing to do with curriculum.
There is never a dull moment in the classroom. Though it's only temporary, it's good to be back.