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In the middle?

September 21, 2009

I had my first substitute teaching experiences of this school year, both of them at the middle school level. The first one was as a teacher’s aide in a special education classroom. The teacher in there is a good friend of mine, and it was a really good introduction to the middle school level. Watching her deal with students that have extreme difficulties, both in and outside of school, was very enlightening. I think I had some trepidations about special ed classes because it was somewhat of an unknown commodity to me, and I really learned alot.

My second call was for 8th grade math, a subject that is terrifying unfamiliar to me. I have found out with my own children that I may have passed math in my time, I may have even done pretty well. But I have discovered that since my time in school, they have totally changed all the terminology and methods of teaching math. For example, borrowing (when you’re doing subtraction) is no longer borrowing – it’s now called regrouping. Suffice it to say, I had no idea what to expect on Friday. I printed out two sheets of word problems just in case I needed to keep them busy. I was very nervous.

I’m pleased to say that not only did the day go okay, it was actually a good day. Other than the uncertainties inherent in being a substitute, I really enjoyed it. The staff and faculty are all very welcoming and helpful (which goes a long way!), the teacher had amazing plans for me, and the kids were enjoyable. I really hope I’ll be asked back soon.

There really is a point in all this non-library babble. Because I’m in the school media program, I’m thinking that being in the schools like this is a plus. I really hope I can start feeling more comfortable as a teacher, which I really felt like on Friday.

The other point I wanted to make in this post is that I have always envisioned myself as a primary school teacher-librarian. I love picture books, I’ve volunteered extensively with that age range, and I have really felt comfortable there. After only two days in a middle school environment, I can really see the appeal there. As my former-middle-school-principal-husband says, not every day will be that good. I get that. But I can see that this level has just as much potential to teach and to make an impact as the primary school (if not more). Now I just have to get the courage to go to a high school, and I’ll get to see what K-12 really looks like.

A quick preview of this week includes my reference librarian interview, and the first of my observations at the reference desk. I’m planning on going down early to get some of my own work done before I observe. I’m really looking forward to this assignment.

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