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plans for today...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
...consist largely of alligator wrasslin': a kind, tactful way of referring to my intentions of devoting my time to a Kindergarten classroom. I found myself a bit of day labor as a substitute para-pro in a room with a herd of five year olds.  You'd think I would learn, right?

I have the rest of the week off due to having exhausted myself over the weekend with twelve and thirteen hour days. And decided I should make one last effort to try to get in the number of days the school district requires to remain 'in good standing' as a substitute teacher. Cannot say why I feel the need for that, or what the actual value is for wanting to remain on their list of replacements. The last few times I have done it, by mid-morning I would be questioning my sanity. Doubting the sense and purpose of devoting my time to such a stressful, aggravating experience. Knowing that the small amount is remuneration cannot possibly be worth the trials and troubles involved in the seven hours in a classroom.

.....Later that same day: when I got home, upon being asked: 'how was your day?', I had to admit that it was 'almost painless'. The difference, when you have done it enough to be aware it doesn't have to be  horrendous, is the years of teaching an individual has under her belt. If she has been around the block a few times, and has developed good techniques for discipline/management, those kids actually do learn something. If she is fairly new in her career, and does not seem to be able to control behavior, it can be a really rough environment for kids, teacher, and substitute as well.

Sadly, they universities that are training the next generations of classroom instructors do not teach discipline or classroom management. The newly minted young adults taking over the classrooms of our public schools do not have the knowledge or skills to handle the behavioral issues that seem to be so common in today's children. The classrooms I have been where I have had opportunity to observe daily activities, it is readily obvious that the older, more experienced teachers are the ones who seem to be more capable of keeping kids on task and getting work accomplished.

The teacher I was with today has been doing it for many years, but said this is her first year with five year olds. She did a remarkable job of getting the kids to stay on target, get work done and provide instructional learning throughout the day. Really capable, which I attribute to all those years of doing it day after day, week after week, learning what works, how to manage a room full of energetic, excitable, easily distracted kids. She really did not need me there, but it was a good experience, being there, seeing her demonstrate her skills.

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