Today was one of those days that make me doubt myself. I can work with the difficult students. I am the sub who is called at the school I usually sub when no other subs will go. M has the most difficult classes. I always offer to sub. First, it is money. Second, I know it is not me who is misbehaved, but the kids, so I just let it roll off my shoulder. There are times however, like today, where I question my ability to handle the kids.
I had a trying day. My first class today was wonderful. It was a class of 34 7th graders who were all working diligently on a project comparing daily life in China with daily life in Japan. I gave little instruction and just told the kids to get to work and stay off of bad sites on the computer. No problem. I handled 34 kids like a breeze.
Then came the 3 1/2 hour insanium testing block with M's most difficult class of 18 students. It basically mimics standardized testing, so uniform procedures to follow that they hold teachers to, and basically big trouble ensues if you don't follow that. So I prepare. I tell the students we are going to be quiet. I raise my voice 4-5 times at the beginning to tell them to quiet down. Nope. I get louder. I don't yell because I won't do that. I gave up. I raised my hand in the air like some teachers do. I finally decide 10 minutes into it I can't get them to quiet down. There are 6 trouble makers in the class who all insist on sitting on the same side in the room, and while they did listen to me when I told them to move to a new seat, the noise level increased. I moved them so we wouldn't have all the noise. I get on the phone and ask that the AP come down. I hate to do that because I feel like I've lost as just a sub who has no control, then I wonder if when I become a teacher it'll be that bad. Probably not. I will be able to set my own procedures and be strict about things like tardies, restroom, staying in your seat, talking, etc. But AP is down in the room within a few minutes. The kids know she is on her way and quiet down, but it is still not silent. I hate that it takes calling the AP also- the kids like to see me defeated or something. She reamed them because of the ridiculousness in that, but also how it is a standardized sort of test. AP takes big problem maker #1 who is spouting off about needing to fuck or something. I know there were lots of F's and the word horny came out of his mouth. I am now able to pass out the tests with problem gone. All is well for 10-15 minutes, then the 5-6 mouths start. I tell the proctor who is walking around from room to room that she needs to take 3 of the problems because they were interrupting and talking, even with me standing directly above them. I kept 2 of them and just moved them to opposite sides of the room. Again, I felt ashamed for having to have the proctor take the kids. The kids who were remaining got a kick out of it.
After the testing block it is back to another 7th grade social studies class. In this class I need to explain a little more and give more guidelines, but 27 7th graders were easily able to follow directions and worked on their project.
We have lunch and then it is back to the 18 students from the 3 1/2 hour test block. I think a few of them were scared after being ripped new ones by the AP for being removed. The class was pretty good overall. I did have to remind 4-5 students that the New Boys are not the founding fathers. I am explaining what to do to a few students who were absent last week and trying to monitor the other students. I had a lot going on. I don't sit at my desk. I'm circulating around the room while all of this is happening. I for the mostpart was barking out orders and they were abiding. Then in the last 10 minutes the first problem who was removed gets up and walks to the other side of the room and puts glue in a kids hair. I send her to the nurse, get back on the phone with AP, and moments later he is putting glue on the girl who sits across from him. AP removes him.
My last class was chatty and I said we'd read the story as a class, but if I had problems keeping them quiet we'd do the assignment individually. We stopped 3 times for talking so I turned it into an individual assignment. There was some talking, but overall it was tame.
I usually only have problems in M's class, but M has horrendous students. She has sort of bottom of the barrel ones who are borderline alternative school bound and more. I never have that problem when I sub for Linda, the math dept. chair, the 8th grade science teachers, or anyone like that. I did have 1 incident a few weeks back on my birthday with the math dept.'s class where they just would not be quiet and got loud where they were yelling at each other as they were upset over some fight or something during lunch. I did call the AP as I sensed it was getting ugly, but I try to avoid that. I do know that sometimes it has to be done. But ugh. AP does know that M has difficult kids and does pay periodic visits, but I hate it, and I feel weird. I don't know if AP visits other classes or not, but she tends to visit me when I sub. Last week she popped in on me subbing for the math dept. chair, but all was rosy. My kids were all focused watching me instruct them on the overhead. She only stayed for about 30 seconds, and I don't know why she was there, but I had nothing to worry about.
I feel bad also because i would like to work at this school one day, and I wonder what the AP thinks, and what my chances are.
Oh well... tomorrow is another day. I can be as mean as I need to be. New problems. New challenges. I survived today.