When I had my own classroom, I thought being a substitute
teacher would be hell.  I couldn’t think
of a worse way to spend a day—trapped with kids you don’t know very well and
who, just on principle, will try to push every button you have.  Oh, and having to follow another teacher’s
lesson plans didn’t sound like very much fun either.  I think I even remember saying, “You could
not pay me enough money to be a sub.”

 

Hmmmm…. yeah.

 

Never say never.

 

After I quit my part-time job at the college this summer, I
decided to give substitute teaching a whirl. 
I’m writing, quite a bit, and I enjoy it very much, but there’s a part of me that really needs the classroom– even if it’s not mine and even if it’s only for a couple of days a week. 
For one thing, I wanted to be on the same schedule as my children.  For another, the pay was, surprisingly, way
better than part-time pay at the college. 
And I wanted to try my hand at elementary school.  I’ve taught high school and college students
for 17 years, but I’ve been feeling the pull towards reading and language arts
for younger students.  After all, I do
have a thing for bulletin boards and gorgeous storybooks.  That’s something  I missed at the college.

 

So a few days a week, I’m tutoring small groups of first graders and subbing in various classrooms.  It’s been a really good experience so far—way
better than I imagined.  The kids,
of course, still want to push the limits and see what they can get away with,
but I love walking in with my kids and being in the same building all day,
working with younger students (they give the best hugs!), reading stories,
making crafts and playing games, and then, at the end of the day, not worrying
about anything once I get home.

 

That might be the biggest difference of all.  At the college, I spent late nights grading
essays and worrying about people and planning lessons and grading tests… for very little compensation.  Now, when I leave the building, I go home
with the kids, and they are my primary focus, which is what I’ve always wanted.

And on the days I don’t work, I am able to devote myself to writing. 

 

That’s not to say I don’t long for my own
classroom.  I do.  Eventually, I would like to have my own rules
and lessons and way of doing things, but for right now, I’m enjoying a
decent paycheck and lots of solid family time in the afternoons and evenings.

This past weekend, we made our traditional yearly trip to Santa’sLand, and old-school theme park in Cherokee, NC.

 

We rode Rudy the Roller-Coaster many, many times, sat on Santa’s lap
(Isaac asked for a mini-trampoline and a human sized hamster ball), and rode
the paddle boats.  Harper Lee and Isaac
steered the boat themselves this year and fought only a little about who was in
control.

 

By the way, I realize it’s October, but Santa’s Land closes at the end of October every year, so we have to cram it in during the fall.  I mean, the dude does have stuff to do at the end of the year, you know.

If only I could capture these moments in a tiny bottle, cork
the top, and keep them on a string around my neck. 

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