11 June 2009

Comments on "Poetry Time, Part Seven"

"Early Reflections of a Substitute Teacher" was written during my first month of substitute teaching. I had been subbing and working the museum concurrently, making my subbing available on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays and working at the museum the other days (except Sundays). I ended up back at my original high school several times in that month, mostly due to my proximity to it from home compared to the other schools in the county.

I found it very interesting to be in the reverse role in identical surroundings. For six years (no, I didn't have to repeat two grades in high school; we had 7th through 12th grade in the same building) I had sat in the position of student, pupil, nervous test-taker and unsure speech/report-giver. Now, after college, here I was in the same rooms but at the teachers' desk, now assuming the position of teacher, educator, nervous test-giver and unsure speech/reprimand-giver. Those same feelings of adolescent student-hood were, by the walls of that school, reformatted into eerily similar feelings of early adult teacher-hood.

Just a few years of substitute teaching, followed by the almost completion of my Masters in teaching, led me to realize the futility of me being in a classroom of students whom I would have to keep in order. If I could be in the classroom, create lesson plans, and cooperatively instruct and guide the students, I am certain I would be a great teacher. I lack, however, that element of authoritativeness to keep a classroom in order. Thus, I gave up any hope of teaching in the public middle and secondary school sectors. I still think I would be a great college professor, though.

This poem, by the way, reflects my desire to teach in North Carolina. Before substitute teaching, I had gone to a teacher's consortium where I got to meet with several teaching recruiters from various states and boards of education. North Carolina had (and last I checked still has) some of the best teaching incentives in the country, including discounted groceries and housing, as well as a system of mentoring from experienced teachers to help the incoming new teachers. I would still like to get to live in NC some day, but it's not as much a priority anymore.

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