I had my first taste of teaching Middle School kids this past Friday, Aug. 29th. I was a sub for the Middle School (6th-8th grade) History teacher at Christopher's school (FBA) and surprisingly enough, I LOVED it! Of course, I don't have any delusions that I'd be ready for middle school kids in the public school, by any stretch of the imagination! And if anything, my day of seeing how things run from the "inside" only confirmed the fact that we need to keep Christopher in that school at all costs. Can I just say that I was totally blown away by how great these kids are? Yes, they are very normal kids with very normal inclinations to get into mischief (and try the sub to see if she really knows the rules), but the rules and consequences that are set in place AND followed, makes it easy for the kids to know exactly what is expected of them.
Middle school was a little bit of a change for me, I've always taught elementary grades - but I've been around the older kids at church and such. All the same, it was a little intimidating the first time I walked into the room and realized they were my responsibility for the day! The middle school principal came in at the beginning of the first few periods to make sure that the kids remembered that when the tardy bell sounded, they were to be in their seats and completely silent...and much to my amazement, they were! Then, he would introduce me as their sub for the day and would leave me to do my job.
During the second period of the day, the school had its first fire drill of the year. I didn't have a class that period, so I simply had to walk out to where the kids were. This is was the most amazing thing I had ever witnessed. I watched these kids, Kindergarten to 12th grade, walk silently (single-file, no less), to their appointed place on the field. Even the teachers were silent - no reminders to get in line, no asking the kids to be quiet...they didn't need to! I was totally and completely blown away! I never would have believed it possible if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes!
The best part of the day was the first group of 8th graders that came in my room during 3rd period. You see, I taught many of them when they were in Kindergarten (which was also my last year teaching at FBA). It was great to see how some of them had grown up - to see how some had changed so much, and others really hadn't (except they are taller now)! That class was a lot of fun...and they are still SOOO good!
My last class, also a group of 8th graders, was my toughest...and yet, still nothing I couldn't handle. The other classes had been so wonderful, I was begining to think I had stepped into some sort of fairy tale. But these rambunctious teenagers brought me right back to reality!
Usually, on the first day of school (when I was a regular teacher), I would tell my class that I could be one of two kinds of teachers - either nice or mean - and it all depended on their behavior. If they listened and followed directions, I could be really nice. If they didn't, well, it was not a pretty sight! I didn't feel the need to make this statement all day...until the last period of the day! It was obvious they had no intentions of settling down unless I made them...so, I made my "two kinds of teacher" speech. When I got to the good teacher part, one girl piped up and said, "I choose that one!" I told her that was a good choice, and reminded the class that they chose the type of teacher by their behavior...and also reminded them that Mr. Mac (the principal) had told me that if anyone gave me any problems, all I needed to do was send them to his office. I really didn't need to say more! Respect for authority is a BEAUTIFUL THING!!!!
Now, as much as I love my precious son, I do realize he has a tendancy to get into trouble if the opportunity presents itself...and in public school, I learned while teaching there...it presents itself quite often! When I was told as a 1st grade teacher that using profane language (words that, if used in a movie even once, would qualify it for an R-rating!) was NOT a discipline issue, I knew something had gone terribly wrong with our public school system! I want my child to have the best education possible...but there are some things I hope he NEVER learns to do (such as taking the Lord's name in vain & using profanity). And so, unless something changes, I can't see that my child will ever have a public school education.
Being a product of the public school system, I never thought it was bad and always believed that's exactly where my child would go when the time came. But, you learn a lot when you see things from the inside...and what I saw from the inside of our public school system is not pretty! That's not to say that private school is always the answer, or even always the best, but for my child at this place and time, it is. As long as God leaves us here and provides the ability to do so, our child (and hopefully someday childREN) will attend FBA and/or be home-schooled!
Wow! I really didn't mean to go off on that tangent there...I really just meant to talk about my day as a middle school teacher-for-a-day! Sorry for that - let me step down off my big ole' soapbox before I really get started! Oh, me! ;)