Sunday, January 25, 2009

85% of Success is Showing Up?

Then for the next three weeks of school, I'm going to be a big failure as a teacher.

Friday, I couldn't take it anymore. I called in sick. I have excellent attendance and almost a month in my CAR, so on those rare occasions when I decide to stay home, I try not to ride myself too much about it (even though I do). I felt guilty for the first half of the day. I had left lesson plans and handouts for the lucky sub who got to cover Class A and Class B, as well as my sixth grade health class. I even left a note for the sub inviting him/her to eat the chocolate from my personal candy dish. Still, though, I always worry. Last year, I had a sub while I was elsewhere in the building grading the state social studies exam, and by the end of the day the AP stopped scoring and made me come back to my class because they made the substitute cry. Last year's classes were handfuls, to say the least, in a way that my friends this year or not, but that experience scarred me with subs.

This year, I've learned to not trust SubCentral with actually calling the sub I request. I have his personal digits which I ring if I possibly can. He gives out the work I leave, the kids listen to him, he leaves the room clean, and he subs at my school frequently, meaning there's a good chance I can touch base with him personally about any problems. And of course my kids know this year that there's usually something a little special in it for them if they treat the sub humanely. Substitute teachers' jobs are even harder than regularly appointed teachers, I think. Not knowing where you'll be or what you'll be doing from one day to the next, not knowing if you'll have to come up with something off the top of your head for the kids to do...that seems tough.

Here's my problem: I'm still sick. Disgustingly, hackingly, nose-runningly sick. Also, I'm signed up for a PD later this week. ALSO, I'm being sent out for several days to score the ELA exam. I'm kind of afraid my kids are going to forget what I look like. Not to mention the challenge of setting up several days' worth of meaningful, relevant work for three classes that can be done entirely without me. I'm dreading, and hoping I can drag my sorry butt out of bed tomorrow morning.