Thursday will (probably) be my first half-day as a substitute teacher. Friday will be my first full day. I would be a little less terrified if there’d been some sort of training program. Or a real orientation. The only orientation I got was a little get together at one of the elementary schools going over basic expectations. Which is certainly better than nothing. Oh, I also got a video about bloodborn diseases. Beyond that, the entire application and hiring process has been paperwork. Sent in your college transcripts. Submit to a fingerprinting and background check. Tuberculosis test. No interview. Congratulations, you’re hired! Call this 1-800 number and leave your name. I don’t even know how much I am going to get paid.

I’m going to spare you the details, but I will be substituting in Redstone (the “big city”, by Arapaho standards). If it goes well, I may try in small-town Callie. Apparently, Redstone has a real need as I have gotten some sort of offer for every day that I have been on their rolls. Due to the commute, however, I haven’t taken them up on it. The first official call came at 5am on Monday morning. I was having terrible sleep and wasn’t in my right frame of mind. It was for kindergarteners and the thought of my first day being with kindergarteners filled me with dread. So I tapped 2 on the robodial to say that I had a conflict. When a human called at 7:30, I told them I had car trouble. More on this in a second. In any event, the unofficial inquiry I had gotten Friday was for first graders. When I later woke up and thought about it, it became apparent that I might have to start small. That afternoon, I got the call for Thursday and Friday – first grade, again.

I got another call at 7:15 this morning, which I didn’t pick up. Remember that car trouble I lied to them about before? Well, it wasn’t a lie. It was prescient. Even overlooking the fact that they called too late for me to get there at the start of the school day, I didn’t have a working car. But I couldn’t tell them that because, in the course of another conversation I had with the call-out lady prior to the car trouble actually emerging, I told them that the car trouble had been fixed. A tangled web. So I didn’t answer. Car troubles fixed (the real troubles, really fixed this time), I will be ready if they call tomorrow morning and so Thursday may become my second day.

Part of me is wondering if I might get called on a daily basis. It’s sure starting to seem that way. This was intended to be a part-time job and as much an effort to get me out of the house as anything. What I suspect they pay me, minus gas and considering that everything I make is going to have nearly 40% taken out in taxes because it’s in our highest tax bracket, money isn’t the big issue here. And doing this day in and day out is simply not what I had in mind. On the other hand, it’s unlikely I will match for any job they call at 7am or later for because I wouldn’t be able to get there on time (would that I had remembered this when I came up with the car story). So we’ll see how that shakes out. At the very least I am hoping not to get a call for tomorrow so that I can start with a half-day to get settled in on a day where I am mentally ready rather than from a 5am call that has me waking up, looking up the school, rushing my arse down there, and a zombie in front of a bunch of hyperactive kids (if, like all the others, it’s a grade school job).

Or maybe I want to put it off because I am terrified. It’s been forever since I have been in first grade. All I remember about it is that the teacher was awesome, I met my future best friend Clint, and… that’s it. I can only partially mentally imagine what a first grader looks like. And of course all of the uncertainties have come back to me. Crap, what if my small bladder needs too much attention? What do first graders do, exactly? The good news is that the teacher knows that she is going to be out. Presumably she doesn’t want a sub taking care of anything important, so hopefully she has filled it with activities from the more frivolous side of the first grade.

Incidentally, one of the things that has me more worried about the Redstone school system is that there are two high schools in Redstone. The public one and a rather prominent Catholic one, St. Matthews. Given that Redstone is a seriously Catholic town, and a pretty poor one, I am hoping that the public high school isn’t filled with the dregs. On the other hand, it’s not like Redstone is full of scary people. Crime rates are very low. The children of a town down on its luck are less daunting a prospect than than the children of actual poverty.


Category: Office, School

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5 Responses to First Days, First Grade

  1. Peter says:

    Catholic? I thought your part of the country was heavily Mormon, if not to the same extent as Deseret.

  2. trumwill says:

    Redstone is an entity unto itself: ethnic, union, and liberal. All somewhat uncommon in the Mountain West.

  3. Mike Hunt says:

    Why don’t you just sub at St Matthew’s and Redstone High School?

    As a society, we are still at the point where we look askance at a man your age who would teach in an elementary school. Most men can barely stand being around their own kids, nevermind others…

  4. trumwill says:

    Why don’t you just sub at St Matthew’s and Redstone High School?

    Redstone High is kind of what I had in mind, but so far all I have gotten is K-1. I’m guessing that’s where the need is. Probably because all of the male substitutes are saying 7th grade and higher.

    St. Matthew doesn’t have any openings posted. Not sure if they will hire non-Catholics when there are so many Catholics around. I might follow up.

    As a society, we are still at the point where we look askance at a man your age who would teach in an elementary school.

    Yeah. In the Age of John Walsh’s “Every Man Is A Predator”, I’m kind of surprised they keep calling me about the kids.

    If this doesn’t work out, I may specify higher grade levels. Not sure how often that’s needed, though.

  5. Maria says:

    Good luck Will! I am sure you will do fine.

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