Slice of Life Tuesday: So, what’s a "perfect sub day"?

The Tuesday Slice of Life Writing Community @ Two Writing Teachers

Sometime on Monday afternoon, I spoke to my kids about the fact that I would be attending NCTE in Boston from Wednesday through Saturday.  Teacher- nerd that I am, I couldn’t keep the excitement out of my voice as I described what I’d be up to for four days.  
“Check out this awesome catalogue of workshops and presentations,” I said, happily waving my dogeared and sticky note laden copy around, “so many interesting events to attend, that I just want to be able to teleport to them all!”
I was greeted with silence.
A few students stole glances at each other.
I knew what the rest were thinking, too:
“She has lost her mind!”
And then I could feel their gears shift: “Substitute teacher? Three days?! Woo -hoo!”
We have different visions, I realize,  of what it would take to make the upcoming “sub days” perfect.  For me, perfect “sub days” are those in which my kids remain my kids – they are engaged, busy with the work at hand, kind to each other, respectful of our space, ready to enjoy a funny moment, but knowing not to take it too far…. in other words, the kids I see every day.
For them, (I fear) a perfect “sub day” is one in which they have free rein.  A day in which they can kick back, take advantage of the situation, and invent new rules that pass for real rules.  
We take a moment to take measure of the situation.   I look meaningfully at them, they look meaningfully at me.  
And we know…
The “sub days” will have  a little of bit of both our visions.  My kids will still be “my” kids – with moments here and there that would (perhaps) surprise me.


15 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: So, what’s a "perfect sub day"?

  1. I love the perspectives you give for your sub days. I know the anticipation of the conference, especially when there are soooo many options and opportunities to learn from people you admire. I hope your kids do you proud while you are gone. Enjoy and I look forward to reading everything you learn.

  2. Tara,I feel the excitement in your post…looking through both points of view, I was thinking a little absence makes the heart grow fonder! You'll come back energized and the kids will miss you and appreciate you more on your return. Have fun at NCTE. Can't wait to meet you!

  3. Different visions?? I can still remember my middle school days when we had a substitute….I can truly say that I have a different vision now that I am a teacher. Wishing you a great time at NCTE!!

  4. Funny, I remember dreading what would happen when I was away for a few days. But I agree, how cool it is to present both perspectives in one very tight dialogue. Nice work my friend.BK

  5. I can feel your excitement and THEIR mixed emotions. I suspect, however, that your own excitement was tempered a wee bit by the need to do subplans – the payoff for days away from the learning factory. I really do hope that your NCATE experience is as magical and eye opening as it can be!

  6. As a substitute for a few years while I was still in school, I can assure you that a good substitute won't let them "own the place" and will share in the perfect sub day experiences of a little bit of both teacher and student hopes. Sometimes I do miss being that substitute that shocks them on day one! Their faces were always priceless 🙂 I just shared a story similar to this experience with a friend of mine this weekend. I found that many students who resisted in the beginning are thankful in the end of your time with them.

  7. Exactly! By now the plans are done, you have left the building and the excitement of attending NCTE awaits. There is no substitute for that! Enjoy meeting fellow slicers and being inspired.

  8. Not having to plan for a sub is one of the best parts of being a specialist, even though there are many times I miss having my own class. I'm sure your students will be on their best behavior. So excited to be going to Boston and meeting you on Saturday!

  9. Very fun the way you wrote this, Tara! You made me feel the silence as you all looked at each other! I was a sub a long time ago, and had a great time 'mostly'-some classes were wonderful & I could tell those were the ones with good teachers, like you! They'll have a good time, & you will too!

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