At my very first Elko County subbing job last week, I was the only teacher at Adobe Middle School wearing jeans, Olathes and a wild rag. The next Monday, I wore a wool skirt and low-heeled shoes. All the other teachers at Northside Elementary were wearing jeans.
I wore jeans and a sweater to Spring Creek Middle School. One of the students exclaimed, “I have the same sweater!” Curse you, JCPenney juniors’ section.
Today, I wore jeans, a long sleeve t-shirt, and a waist-length courdoroy jacket to teach Spring Creek High School math. Evidently, there was a big basketball game and wrestling tournament, so every single staff member was wearing a piece of Spring Creek Spartans clothing. My jacket smelled like smoke from the woodstove (I guess I need to learn to operate the damper more efficiently?) and I couldn’t decide if I felt like a hippie or an Indian.
It’s impossible to catch your stride in subbing, because there is no pattern. I rose at 5:15 this morning to drive to work with plenty of time to prepare for my first class. My first class turned out to be the teacher’s prep period, so no children actually arrived in the classroom until 9:10. But there I sat, bright-eyed, caffienated and ready to educate.
My classes were Algebra One and Trigonometry. I introduced myself, took roll, and the kids worked on review sheets. I checked my email approximately every 37 seconds and read online Dave Barry columns, thereby establishing my reputation as the New Sub Who Smells Like Smoke And Laughs To Herself All Class.
Every once in a while I turned away from the computer screen and scanned the classroom, giving the impression that I was closely monitoring the students’ diligence to studying. In fact, I was relieving a wicked crick in my neck from turning to 2 o’clock to look at the computer screen.
Subbing has got to be one of the most random jobs. If there was a reliable set of rules, I would share them with the masses. As it is, I feel like a a professional swimmer who was handed a tennis racket, given a pat on the back, and told “Make us proud.” I just kinda flail around in front of the crowd, hoping someone claps once in a while.