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What a Day!

I had a day today yesterday that I could *never* have predicted.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I finally decided to "try out" a substitute teaching assignment a high school in another county.  Mind you, I haven't stepped foot into a high school in 20 years (except to visit a friend who works in my former school) and I was. . .scared.  Scared of the parking lot.  Scared of the size of the building.  Scared of (gulp!) the students.  I'm not kidding. . .just no confidence at all.  But, well, the call came at 5:45 this morning and I said "what the heck" and accepted the job.  BTW, this particular county is on an automated system.  When a teacher enters in an assignment, a computer starts calling available subs on the list.  So, when the call comes, I answer, knowing it is a computer.  They ask you to verify that it's you, tell you which school the assignment is at, ask if you want more information, then gives you the teacher name and subject and then you can choose options:  "yes", "not this one but continue to call", or "no and don't call me anymore today". 

The system said that I would be subbing in Culinary Arts.  Hmmmm, interesting.  I found my way into the parking lot and found the front office.  They were all official there. . .asking my name and printing up a name badge, giving me a standard sub folder with the bell schedule, procedures, school map, etc. in it.  I've never had anything so formal in my experience in this area!  The secretary told me where the room was and said if it was locked to come back and they'd find someone to unlock it for me.  Well, it was locked and furthermore said "social studies" outside the door.  I found my way back to the office (luckily it was right around the corner) and she said she'd call someone to unlock the door for me and yea, the teacher is using that room until her culinary lab is "finished" in a couple of weeks.  Okay.  Went back to the classroom and someone came by to unlock the door.  Walked into an empty, empty classroom.  Just student desks and a teacher desk mainly.  No plans, no nothing on the board.  . .just empty.  I was a bit confused and started looking around.  I did find three folders in a desk labeled 2nd, 3rd, & 4th.  According to the bell schedule there are 6 periods in the day.  Hmmmmmmm. . .back to the office.  Someone else was there so I asked her about it.  She said "oh yea, that teacher only has three classes a day".  Well, that's not too bad.  When I asked about lack of lesson plans (the official folder from the office said that plans would be clearly laid out) she said "oh, you are Mrs. Z. today?  Well, she went into labor last night. . .she wasn't expecting that."  Wow.  So. . ..what should I do?  "Well, go find Mrs. W and ask her."  Again, I had to explain that I had never, ever set foot in that school and didn't know anyone or how to get anywhere.  I got some vague instructions and off I went.  I found Mrs. W (another culinary arts teacher) and she didn't know anything about Mrs. Z going into labor.  Oh well, she didn't really know what to tell me.  At this point I figured I was going to do "fine". . .I love to cook, love to be in the classroom. . .seriously, how hard can it be to babysit three classes?  She suggested that we come down to her classroom and watch "Supersize Me" but one of the 2nd pd students overheard this and said "no, please don't make us watch that again -- we already saw it when we took Wellness". . .so, again, I said I'd figure something out.  I rarely go into a sub job without a bag of tricks anyway.

I was back in the classroom for all of 5 minutes when the second office person came to me and said "I need you down in another classroom this period.  In carpentry."  Okay. . .so I followed her down to another vocational classroom where I was met with 21 boys.  The teacher in there said, "they have a movie in (it was a motorcross thing) and this group over here is playing cards.  They're good kids. . .do you have something to do?  Basically, you just need to sit in here with them for 45 minutes."  I asked if there was a class list or anything. . ."no, it'll be fine".  I guess you, whoever you are, knows best so there I sat, for 45 minutes, reading a Redbook magazine never talking to a soul.  And she was right, they *were* good kids.  No problems.  Whew.

I found my way back to the classroom I was assigned to and found a wonderful group of kids.  They all thought their teacher had had her baby but I couldn't tell them much. . .just that she was in labor last night.  They told me all about their teacher (I can tell they really like her), what they've done so far in the class this year, we talked a bit about why they signed up for the class, what they hope to do in the class this year, etc.  Truthfully, I was really beginning to enjoy these kids!  They asked if I was the long-term sub and I said no, I was just called in that morning and didn't know anything about anything.  They didn't either, obviously.

My next class was just as delightful.  Just a great bunch of kids (sophomores, juniors, and seniors).  They too asked if I was their permanent sub.  Again, I told them no, that I had seen the posting for the position but they were looking for a culinary arts person, which I am not although I love to cook and bake and learn about cooking and baking.  Mid-way through class the office person came back down.  I finally asked who she was -- she's the principal's secretary.  He was out of state today and apparently she must be in charge when he's gone?  Anyway, she came down to tell me that after lunch she needed me to teach upstairs, 4th, 5th and 6th periods and she'd find someone else to cover my 4th pd class.  I asked about their permanent sub, that the kids had been asking, and she said "frankly, we don't have anyone".  So I asked a bit more about it and she said "do you want the job?".  Well, that took me by surprise. . .I said I could come back Monday. . .but. . .well. . .I don't know?????  She seemed happy/relieved that I could come back and left.

I went upstairs to find an empty room.  Even more empty then the one I had just left.  Turns out, these kids haven't had a teacher ALL YEAR.  (And I think they're 6-7 weeks into school!).  There was a note on the door to see the teacher next door for the plans.  Basically, there were three afternoon classes, American History, US Government, and Economics. . .she was an English teacher and didn't know anything about anything, only that a teacher had been hired, for whatever reason had never been there, and I was the fifth substitute in that classroom this year.  Wow.  See?????  NOTHING about this day could have been predicted with that initial phone call at 5:45 a.m.!

Bottom line. . .I got through the day and LOVED it!  I felt bad because the kids in the afternoon classes all asked if I was going to be their teacher/permanent sub and it was *killing* me to say "no". . .because, let's face it, can you imagine having the rotating teachers that they've had?  I just didn't realize how difficult it was to get subs in that building. . .it was really a super great school!  Maybe everyone else feels kind of like me. . .you have your grade level(s) that you're comfortable with and don't stray too far.  I know I'm guilty of that and boy am I glad I took the plunge today to say "yes"!  It was fun to be "back in high school". . .the staff was so friendly and helpful. . .the kids were just great, in class and out.  Everything seemed orderly, there seemed to be a routine that everyone was accustomed to and accepted. . .just a great experience.

I texted Tom at one point today and said that I thought that God had used me today in that school (I can't share the specifics of that her but if I know you I know you'll eventually hear about it!!!).  It was just an incredible feeling to know I was right where I needed to be today.  And that couldn't have happened without His intervening last night, putting someone in my path that encouraged me to go to the high school, putting a job assignment in my path that would interest me. . .I don't think I did anything earth-shattering today or anything. . .I think He just needed me to open my eyes, I think there are things He wanted to show me, and I *do* think that maybe I made a slight difference in someone's day today.  I hope so.

Well, this was too long for anyone but me to read. . .I just had to/needed to record these memories. . .I just love it when things don't work out the way you think. . .always, the Lord has plans way bigger, way better than we can ever imagine (I look at my children daily and am reminded of that truth).

Now for the weekend!  Got home from my crazy no-break day (the parking lot wasn't bad at all!) and my in-laws were here.  The kids got home shortly after me, we skipped Frederick's swim practice but made everyone's soccer practice and I participated in a new Body Pump class at our YMCA.  Dinner at IHOP and then some visiting before we all headed to bed.  Looking forward to soccer pictures and games tomorrow and hopefully another trip to the lake too!


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