I am a retired kindergarten/early childhood educator. A tough decision to retire but it was necessary and in hindsight a good one. I haven’t left the profession, but have transitioned to a new position, that of a substitute teacher. I sub at two different schools in classes preschool to second grade. I continue to learn and share with colleagues on Twitter, Facebook and at the school campuses.
It has been a busy few weeks and as I made the commitment to sub I knew the transition in the different grade levels could be overwhelming. But to my relief, I saw what I always believed take place in the classrooms. The students rose to the occasion when I was uncertain or confused by the curriculum or schedule. True I was usually in a team teaching classroom, but when I was alone in a class of second graders the learning and teaching, mine and theirs, was palpable. When given the chance to demonstrate what they know, students want to shine. I saw it with first graders when they had a Geniushour session and with four-year-olds when they demonstrated their cutting skills as I hovered close by watching for safety issues. I saw it with Toddlers taking my hand to help a child who was hurt and with the three year olds settling down so I could read them a story. And at times children test subs and that’s been true in my situation as well. I see the testing and the challenging my directions and decisions as their uncertainty about me. How will I respond? Will I be that teacher that “lays down the law”? Will I be that teacher that asks them to explain what they want and need? Will I be that teacher that appreciates their ideas and respects their suggestions? Will I be that teacher that listens and gives them the opportunity to try out their “hypothesis”? Will I be that teacher who has time for them? Will I be that teacher that appreciates their quirkiness and uniqueness? I hope I can be that teacher. I hope it’s been more times then not.
I continue to be a familiar face at both school sites. The children greet me and ask if I’m in their classroom today. And maybe that’s the loud and clear message to me, for the most part, I’m that teacher.
Although now I’m in a unique situation as a substitute teacher, I know a classroom teacher (not long ago being in that position) has so much asked of them. I continue to observe incredible teaching, as I partner up in the various classrooms, and feel proud that I get to say when asked what I do, “I teach. I am a teacher!”