It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been in a school building for a full day. I’d forgotten that it takes literally every single employee in the building, to make a school run! Not one person is insignificant. Think about your work place; can you say the same? Do you need everyone, physically there, everyday?
Back in May I decided to sub at our local middle school as a special education associate. It was just three weeks, but it was an experience that sticks with me, even now. Remember I was a middle school teacher; even so, subbing was an eye opening experience.
The work of school people is something special. It really is. I signed up because May is a slower month for work. My tutoring at DMACC ends, and I only had a few Pick a Better Snack lessons left to teach. Our team at Next Step had just wrapped up two big projects, and we had a gap before the next one got started.
The application process was time consuming and clunky, but when I asked for help, the office staff was on it. Once I got through the paperwork I was excited to go to school! Yes, I was nervous, but I felt ready!!
Looking back, maybe I wasn’t so ready…not for my eyes to be opened, and my heart to be changed, in such a big way!!
Each day, new things jumped out at me as I moved around the school–respectful discipline to disrespectful students, help for students struggling with technology. Teachers took attendance, engaged their students in interesting lessons, and built meaningful connections. One teacher talked John Deere mower repair as they walked a student to the restroom.
Lunchroom duty was an exceptionally noisy (I mean exciting) duty with several hundred students crammed into one space. I observed teachers’ calm, positive demeanor as they juggled calls from the office, urgent email messages, and instruction.
It takes every single employee in the school to make the days go smoothly. During the three weeks I was there, all staff took seriously the the responsibility for checking in with students who were distracted/hungry/sad/angry/lonely/bothered/or maybe they just need an ear to listen or someone to smile and greet them.
I came across this post by Sharon McMahon (@sharonsaysso). I find it appalling that 30% of teachers don’t see themselves in education in five years. But what if we could each make a small commitment to helping out in our local schools?
Maybe sub as an associate, or volunteer each week…Schools have come under attack lately; a week supervising the lunchroom or volunteering in the library might give us solid information to help improve our schools. And support them.
Maybe you feel called to get your teaching substitute certification, and work as a substitute classroom teacher? You won’t regret it…your eyes will be opened by what goes on at school!
As always, take care and let me know if you need help taking the next step on this…