Friday, May 31, 2013

Teacher, Teacher!

Today marks the end of my 6 week long-term substitute teaching assignment at Brock Road Elementary School.  I have been covering the PE classes there.  My heart is full and I am tired.  I suspect that is how many teachers feel at the end of the school year.

I've dreamed of being a teacher since I was in 4th grade.  My very own Gram was an elementary school teacher.  I loved visiting her classroom.  I remember going to school with her for a day as her student.  She was a firm but fair teacher; she was patient and kind.  She made learning fun and has always stressed the importance of education.

I didn't believe I could be a good teacher to elementary school-aged kids, so in college, I studied to be a high school Spanish teacher (inspired by Vicki Speakman for that).  Life took me to Virginia and I didn't complete the needed requirements for my licensure.  I explored other employment avenues until this year.

This school year I was hired as a substitute teacher.  I chose Brock Road because it's where my own kids attend.  They ride with me to and home from school.  We get to eat lunch together sometimes.  I've had the opportunity to cover many classrooms at Brock Road on short assignments.  But, more recently I was offered an assignment to cover PE for 6 weeks.  This means I have taught each class in the school from Kindergarten to 5th grade.  This means I teach 300 students each day.  This means I have been working full-time and still a full-time mom.  Now I'm a Supermom---JUST KIDDING!

Teaching Kindergartners is a bit like herding cats.  They go in every direction.  As soon as I think I have them under control, one of them is upset or running away.  If I turn my back to run after one, 5 more are going in 5 different directions. And, they can run FAST!

Fifth graders are my favorite.  Most love to be helpful by setting up or putting away equipment.  Some of them are taller than me, especially the boys.  They have a good sense of humor.  They are growing independence, but if they get injured they still need that mom-like quality of me to ask "are you ok?" or give them a hug.

I've had both Elliot and Sydney as students.  Elliot is very competitive and follows rules closely.  Sydney is a fast runner and is less likely to try new things.  Sometimes Sydney misses directions because she's whispering to one of her classmates.  Both have been happy to have me as their "teacher."  I feel very fortunate to have been able to be part of their school days.

A perk of the job has been that I now know every kid K-5 in our neighborhood.  When I go for a run along the neighborhood streets kids yell "Hi, Mrs. V" as I pass by.  The ones who don't remember my name yell "Hey, PE teacher!"  I've been recognized at the grocery store and stopped at the mall.  They get excited to see me outside of school.  Kids are so funny.

I've played a lot of dodge ball in the past 6 weeks.  I've tied A LOT of shoes.  I've spoken more words in the past 6 weeks than I probably have in the past 6 months prior to this.  It's been very rewarding though.  I was wrong about my abilities...I can be a good teacher to elementary school-aged kids. :) My Gram was amazing.  Four other women in my family were also teachers.  It's in my blood I guess.

Teachers don't teach for the money.  Teachers teach because kids are amazing.  Teachers teach because they want to make a difference.  Teachers teach because there are few things that compare to the way kids wear their hearts on their sleeves.

Christa McAuliffe said, "I teach, I touch the future."  It's been my favorite quote I have read about teaching.    

I am going to look forward to more teaching adventures next school year.  But...first I am going to enjoy summer vacation. 

Happy summer!  Thanks for reading.