Thursday, April 06, 2006

Clap the rhythm ... on your own  knees!

Welcome! We're so glad you were available to sub' here today.
My first day subbing went pretty well overall. It didn't start with quite the "welcome back" to the district one might wish for.

As I mentioned, I was in for an elementary music teacher. She works at two different schools. I whisked into the office of the first school just at the time I was supposed to get there. It was a little busy so I had to wait a minute.

"May I help you?" They see an unfamiliar man in a tie with a black briefcase. They probably think I'm an educational software salesman.

"I'm the substitute for Mrs. Querin." (Names changes to protect …)

"For who?"

My heart rate doubles; I've started at the wrong school. No. That can't be, I read the information over five times.

"Mrs. Querin . . . ," I pronounce the name a couple of different ways. " . . . music teacher, she starts here and then goes to Franklin," I add, almost confidently.

The secretary believes me, but seems to be trying to hide her bewilderment. She walks back to the other secretary and repeat my alleged assignment.

The other secretary explains who I'm supposed to be subbing for and points to a schedule on the wall. (I would think that they would know a sub' is coming, or least know all the teachers in their building, part-time or not; it is April, after all. Maybe, the first secretary was a sub', too.)

Whew! They direct me and even tell me there is another music teacher down there who will let me know what I'll be doing.

Only 10
The plans were thorough. And her Thursday schedule was thoroughly hectic. Her prep' time for the day: a ten-minute break, a thirty-five-minute break during which she has to travel to the other school, and a half-hour break called "lunch." There were 10  half-hour music classes to teach, ranging from Kindergarten to 4th grade.

Multitask Or Else
Both of the schools have a significant population of lower-income students. Almost all of the groups needed stern classroom management.

It was  my first day, and I had  had a bit of practice "teaching" again at church school.

Nevertheless, I found it difficult to deliver this firm class guidance while trying to choose and find the right songs on the CD player and in the music book, attempting to lead the singing in a way that did not incur infectious ridicule, and (sometimes), trying to prevent musical games from turning into recess-like free-for-alls.

Ultimately, each class went fine.

I do not envy the elementary vocal music teacher, especially "Mrs. Querin," and especially on Thursdays.

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