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Monday, March 06, 2006


Chaos and Creation

Today I witnessed a scene of horrific chaos. My son's class had a substitute teacher.

On Mondays I volunteer in the computer lab at his school, mostly running around and re-booting these incredibly frustrating computers they have in there. Today, however, the teacher was sick (again! that's like the tenth time this school year!) and the substitute was cowering in the corner, covered with post-it notes and pretzels. No, not really. But she did look a bit, uh, stressed.

And the kids were learning absolutely nothing. Most of them were drawing. I asked my son what they'd been doing all day and he said "Drawing, reading, playing." So, basically, it was just another day of babysitting at the public school.

The sub didn't want to risk going to computer lab ("It's not in my instructions!!") so I left, happy in the thought that soon, very soon, my son will no longer be wasting his days with busy-work and redundant repetition. We are preparing for home-schooling next fall, and I expect my son to thrive.


Anonymous Steve S said...

Have you looked into the Montessori program? I am just fanatic about it, I'm actually getting ready to blog about Kristin's progress later tonight.

In preschool, they are already getting into cubing and squaring, she's learning English (the sounds of consonants and vowels) as well as Spanish. I recommend looking into the Montessori system, it is absolutely phenomenal.

8:24 PM  
Blogger Chocolate makes it better said...

To be honest, I've never really thought about home schooling however, when you hear strories like that, this option looks pretty enticing.

4:32 AM  
Anonymous brettdl said...

When I was a wee lad, we prayed for a substitute teacher because we knew it was like a day off.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

As a previously homeschooled child, and now a teacher I have to say you nailed it. However, I do have to say that there is stuff that parents don't see. One time I substituted for part of a day and because I didn't follow the teachers "hand out the worksheet and leave them alone" policy-(instead I actually explained it to them and had a hands on activity) I got yelled at for the better part of 1/2 an hour by this teacher. So not all subs are lazy, some do try to do a good job, but they are limited sometimes by their superiors in what they can and cannot bring to the classroom.

With all that said though, there are a lot of really bad subs out there as well. I wish you the best in homeschooling your son and I'm sure he will thrive.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Jared said...

Babysitting? Sounds a lot like study hall.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Best of luck with the homeschooling. We're also planning on doing that when David is school age. It's the only private education we can afford to give the kids, and who better to teach them than their own parents?

12:06 PM  
Anonymous chip said...

substitute teacher is THE worst job in the world...

4:18 PM  
Blogger ErinG said...

Good luck with the homeschooling. I am sure you will do great. There will be rough days but it is so worth it in the end.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous mejaka said...

As a former homeschooler, a certified teacher, and a sometime substitute, I'd say don't lump all your subs (or teachers) in the same group. I was highly respected by the teachers I taught for. I once subbed for a teacher who left worksheets that were clearly busywork (I taught in a district that didn't allow the teachers to request specific subs--you got what you got, and sometimes the best you could do was leave plenty to do, not so much because the sub was bad, but because as a sub you really don't know what the kids have been doing, what they are capable of, etc). I knew the worksheets were busywork, so I skipped them and had the kids write instead (it was an English class). The teacher was thrilled and requested me often after that.

Another Spanish teacher I often subbed for wrote me a note after I taught prepositions. He said the kids REALLY got it. Well, they would hardly forget ON and UNDER and THROUGH when the sub was jumping on desks and crawling under them and tossing things out the window.

I was not as unique as some of you are thinking. Subbing's tough, but there are a lot of pro subs who are very good at what they do.

5:36 PM  

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