Tales of a Possible Teacher – Part Two

Posted: May 31, 2017 in Blog
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During my trials and travails as a substitute teacher, the experience that affected me the most was when I was called in to work at the Alternative Learning Center.  Now, some of you may already be reacting, and that would be because you know what such places are.  At the time, I did not.  I thought it might be some progressive school with a different sort of curriculum or paradigm or some such.  How wrong I was.  For those of you who do not know, Alternative Learning Centers are where students are sent when they get in serious trouble.  It is meant to be a step between expulsion and/or juvenile hall.

The kids there were largely a rambunctious lot, and that is my being polite.  I spent my time being as unobtrusive as possible as there was another teacher in the class with me.  It was explained to me that these kids all had a certain amount of days they had to satisfy before going back to regular school.  If they did anything against the rules, they were simply sent home and did not get credit for that day.  I did not offer my opinion on this, just kept my head down and did my own time.

At one point, we gathered two classes into one room to watch a movie.  One student, a male who held as much size as a full grown adult, began to get into it with a teacher.  He eventually threatened her, basically saying she’d better hope he never sees her outside the school.  He was sent home.

One afternoon class was a chance for the kids to mess around on computers.  This was in the early 90’s, so you can only imagine what amazing machines found their way into the ALC.  The kids, though, loved this time.  I had some familiarity with computers, as I had taken quite a few relevant classes in high school and college.  One student had trouble with the software she was running (I don’t even recall what it was), and I was able to solve her problem.  The students seemed to warm up to me then.

It was at that point that a teacher poked her head in the room, and she was shocked to see I was alone with the kids.  She quickly explained to me that there are always supposed to be at least two instructors in every class, especially if one is a substitute.  They finally found someone and sent them in with me, but there had been no trouble.  The kids were transfixed on their computers.

As I was leaving for the day, I was approached by the principal and another teacher.  They offered me a job on the spot.  I was taken aback.  I didn’t even have a teaching certificate, which I pointed out, and they waved off.  Apparently, I was the first substitute at that center to ever make it through the entire day.  I was flattered, but I did not take the offer.

Substitute teaching was a great learning experience for me.  I learned that I don’t want to teach unless it is at the collegiate level.

Thank you for reading.  If you enjoy my writing, please check out my Amazon Author Page for my published works.

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