As I mentioned in a previous post, I have begun substitute teaching. Since February, I have been subbing at least once or twice a week at our Middle School/High School. Each day seemed to bring new challenges. Somedays I was expected to teach topics I wasn’t too familiar with (Alegbra) and others I had to learn to deal with disrespectful and even disgusting situations that students decided to put me in. After each day, though, I felt I got more comfortable and felt like I had gained some more respect both from the students as well as the teachers. It felt good when the phone calls to sub again kept coming. I wanted to say, “they like me!” or (maybe they are really desparate). This week I was faced with a challenge to sub for an entire week for someone that has been gone and may be gone for more days/weeks. The students miss their regular teacher, resent the numerous subs that have been through there, and have gotten used to “slacking off”. I was completely overwhelmed on Monday, but by Wednesday, I felt like I was really making headway. By the end of today I realized I might actually miss these students a bit over the weekend. I am planning to return next week and who knows if I will be needed after that. This week has not only been an adjustment for me, but also for my family. I haven’t worked 5 days in a row out of the home since I have been a mom (which was 10 years ago this weekend). So, not all the housework got done, not all the laundry went from washed/dried/put away in one day, some of the meals were quick-fixes, and my daughter didn’t get the attention she was used to. But, after going through all of that, I also found this week was rewarding. My husband and daughter got to have some daddy/daughter time each morning before daycare and most of the day today. I met some great people this week that I never would have met. I also realized how fortunate I was to grow up in a loving home and to have my children grow up in that same atmosphere. I am grateful that I had parents who cared about what I did or didn’t do at school, who my friends were, and what I was doing at night. I am glad I had parents who gave me consequences when my grades or attitude wasn’t what it should have been. I am grateful I had teachers who respected me and expected the best from me. I have learned after this week what can happen when students don’t have all those things that I had growing up. So, if I end up going back next week, my goal is to give those kids what I am capable of offering….a solid education, expectations, and a guide to lead them through the rough patches. I know it won’t be easy, but I am up for the challenge. I am asking you to be involved as a parent. Get to know their teachers, check their grades and assignments on a regular basis (most schools have online programs to do that), and be there for your kids. Care about who they hang out with, ask them about their life, follow through with consequences, and hold them accountable for their actions. Your child will appreciate you some day….it just took me 37 years to realize how lucky I was!