This week I started a nine-day job as a high school social studies teacher. It’s bringing back all the memories of my student-teaching days, like the administrative problems I had.
Normally as a substitute, I teach one, maybe two days and leave a report on everything that happened. Now I have to deal with the consequences directly. I have five classes plus an advisory. The class sizes range from 15 to 30, which means I have well over 100 students to get to know and keep track of. By tracking I mean which ones are absent, will be absent, are tardy, are called to the office, in the restroom, at the library or are otherwise out of the classroom. If they’re not in class, they’re missing something. If it’s a test they’re missing, that’s important.
The normal routine isn’t hard. The complications are what get you. You need a system for tracking turn-ins and missed work. If a student has been absent and isn’t ready to take a test, fine. But that student can’t be in the classroom when the test is critiqued.
Then there is the lost time — everything from fire drills to snow days. In my current job, I’ve been warned of some schedule changes which might happen and I don’t fully understand. But I have to be prepared for them anyway. There’s nothing worse than not having a lesson planned for class time. (Actually, there is — not turning in grades on time and losing a student’s work are right up there with the apocalypse.)
Have I mentioned putting all this together isn’t easy?