Back to Middle School

This morning I was called in for substitute teaching duty (and for the third time in a row, it was on a Friday; I detect a pattern). This time it was heading over to Roger Ludlow Middle School, where Robbie and Kate attended. I last walked those halls in 2002 when I subbed during Robbie’s eighth grade. As it was, I was filling in for his former social studies teacher so that was odd.

Even though there are middle schoolers around the block, I haven’t had much interaction with them so this was an eye opening experience.

They’re young. Smaller than I recalled and in some ways far friendlier than the high school students I’ve been dealing with. On the other hand, they also tested me more than the high school kids.

The five classes had an identical assignment so once we took attendance and got them started, I found myself dealing with a class full of whisperers and Mexican jumping beans. They needed a drink, a visit to the bathroom, a trip to the library or their locker. Many had completed the assignment and the instructions were vague for this sizeable percentage. I let them read their own books or study other subjects.

Interestingly, the Percy Jackson series was quite popular as was the Suzanne Collins trilogy. Some of the YA series were in evidence but not a single Stephanie Meyer book in sight. And they all had books, or just about all of them, which was encouraging.

I would up speaking with a fellow sub that used to do marketing at Kenner so we hit it off nicely. He asked one of my classes if they read comics and only one raised her hand, admitting to liking Bone. The small showing was a bit of a surprise and a concern.

I got through the five classes without incident and it was a good test of my classroom management skills before training. Some declared I would become a good teacher, with zero evidence to back it up but I’ll take their gut estimations.

I wonder where I’ll be next Friday.

3 comments

  • Mike Pasqua

    Reminded me of my first assignment….spent most of the time working with the class explaining the difference between Adam Smith and Karl Marx (fortunately, having an MBA, it’s something that I was familar with). Not every will always go smoothly-once I had to work with the high school orchestra. The other teacher handed me a baton and sheet music. When I told him that I didn’t know how to conduct, his response was “Don’t let THEM know that”. There is an old adage: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit”. I still subscribe to this. Some days will be better than others and middle school kids are loons to begin with (it’s why I teach high school seniors). Good Luck.

    PS-I NEVER take Fridays off

  • Congratulations on getting through the first day!

  • Heather Dean

    You didn’t say what grade you were teaching? There must be plenty of 6th graders, who attended McKinley last year, who would remember your lively and informative: History of Graphic Novels.

    With your busy schedule it will be impossible to continue teaching 5th graders, but if you could find the time, I think it’s worthwhile. I know McKinley thought you were great.

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