Internet, I'm teaching again! For a few weeks anyway.
My paperwork finally went through as of December 9, after just over four months. The Tuesday before the break was my first day as an AVID tutor. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a college readiness elective for students with average or above IQs who meet one or more of the following criteria: first in family to attend collge, underrepresented minority, low income, or some special circumstance. It's for what they call "the least served students who are in the middle". Kids with decent but not stellar GPAs and test scores who have a desire to attend college and the potential to succeed with support. It involves teaching a lot of organizational and study skills and encouraging higher order thinking.
At the school here, they have a few tutors who share duties helping out in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade classes. The school is on a block schedule, so AVID is only every other day. I could sub on the other days or, heck, even on AVID days if I prefer since it pays better. They're flexible. When I went in for my second day, the Thursday before the break, I stopped in to ask the secretary a question. She couldn't help me just then because she was scrambling to find subs. I became (however temporarily) her favorite person by offering to sub instead of going to AVID.
I ended up covering for a special ed teacher who does inclusion support in general ed classes. When I went into a seventh grade English class, the teacher came over to ask me if I'm a teacher. I subbed again on Friday and at the end of the day, was asked whether I'd be interested in long-term subbing for said English teacher while he was in the States for surgery for a month or so. Starting January 8.
I spent parts of the last two days meeting with the teacher and sitting in on a couple of his classes. Then today, I started. It feels good to be teaching again. So far the kids have been pretty good and the classes haven't felt eternally long. My biggest concerns had to do with the bigness and longness of the classes. Teaching self-contained special ed meant my biggest class in four years was eight students. Of course, there were reasons why my classes were so small, but still, these big general ed classes would be different for me. And the block schedule means classes are 85 minutes, versus 45. The beauty part is that all of my classes do the same thing, so I only prep one lesson plan and I'm set for two whole days. As opposed to prepping for six entirely different classes each and every day. That's nice.
My other concern is being able to do the work of a real teacher while also taking four grad school classes. If the teacher is back in a month, it should be fine because it will only overlap with the first two weeks of the semester. Of course, after I took the job, he admitted he actually had no idea how long he'll be gone. The doctors can't decide on a type of surgery until they see him and he doesn't know anything about what to expect for recovery time. Uh oh. On the other hand, having more structure in my life may help me get more done in a day. And I'd probably get more work done by staying after school in a classroom than working at home. (Assuming I bring a coat and blanket to stave off hypothermia. I know it's freezing where you all are and you don't want to hear it from a person experiencing outdoor highs in the 60s, but holy cats is it cold in that room.)
Fortunately, the kids have been well-prepared for me by their usual teacher. When I walked in yesterday, he told me (loudly in front of the students) "You might think this is a strange way to arrange students, but I put all of the weird kids on one side of the room and all of the normal kids on the other side." I looked around, nodded and said that yes, I could see that. They seemed to all pick up on the sarcasm, meaning we should get along just fine.