Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.
John Cotton Dana
Yesterday, I had a half day afternoon job, teaching Latin. I'm not a morning person, so not having to show up until noon works for me. I spent my morning puttering around the house--reading a little, writing a little, checking my email, and planting a few columbines out in the garden. I emptied the dishwasher and brought up the garbage cans. Took something out to defrost for dinner, then washed my face, put on my teacher clothes, and headed off to the high school, and Latin.
Yeah, Latin. Like I know how to teach that. But in this stint of substitute teaching, I've become quite adept at learning a new subject in only a matter of moments. Often subbing is only babysitting as teachers leave boring worksheets or study time. But I find refereeing a room full of middle or high school students, with basically nothing to do for an hour and a half, offers more strain on my temperament than discovering a new subject and seeking a route to enhance both their learning and mine.
In the past few months, I've taught World History, Geography, French, English, Band, Theatre Arts, Algebra 2, Earth Science and Biology. I've learned, and hopefully passed on, some valuable material. But where have I spent most of my time? P.E. Physical Education. Picture a 53 year old women in the middle of a gym with 35 kids playing combat Dodge Ball. Not a problem, though. As the mother of three boys, I'm comfortable walking into a room with flying balls.
I'm requested often for PE. My friend at the YMCA gave me a whistle which I keep in my teacher bag. Comes in handy when the mom voice doesn't quite rise above the din in the gym.
If students become unruly in PE? I merely blow that whistle and say in a calm voice. "You guys aren't listening to me. Time to run."
As the kids run/walk/jog around me, tongues hanging to the floor, they ask how long they have to run. I look at my watch, then answer. "Until I get tired."
Works every time.
So, Latin. I go to school. Turns out I have my days wrong. My Latin assignment is on Friday. I blame menopause for the brain fade rather than stupidity. Like, didn't I look at the date of the job when I signed up? So thankful the women who work that front office are my age. They laughed with me, rather than at me.
Showing up for work, and then not having to? Almost like a Snow Day.
Until Friday then. Magister dixit. Carpe noctem.