Golden Arches and Kittens

I was hoping to do a daily recap of my teaching adventures, but life has been moving quickly this month so I haven’t had a chance to post my ”sub notes”. So here is a bit of a catch-up post to jot down some memories, recap some learnings, and share some photos.

Feb 2 – Pilot Butte Middle School

This was my first time at PBMS as a substitute. The campus reminds me a bit of my own middle school growing up since it has a series of outdoor hallways connecting the wings/buildings. Pilot Butte has also been recently modernized, and I was really impressed with the facility. I was in a Special Ed classroom for the day, and also got to hang out in a math class and help out for a bit.

Cool Learning Moment: During my final class of the day, we were playing my guess what’s in the box game towards the end of class, and a student asked me ”Do you have a lazy eye?”. It was very matter-of-fact, and indeed this is one of those quirks of my body that I have been self conscious about most of my adult life. One of the nerves that controls my right eye doesn’t work as intended, and when I glance to my left, my right eye gets ”lazy”.

I recall selecting seats at tables during company meetings to minimize this trait of mine, and it is something I try to hide when interacting with people in real life. But this student just asked in a kind, and inquisitive tone – so I responded back in the same matter-of-fact way. I was in a room with fellow humans that all had their own little ”glitches” like this, which every room filled with people with their own imperfections – but it was refreshing to know the space was safe enough to talk openly about things like this. ❤️

Feb 7 – 4th Grade North Star

I was excited to get back into a classroom last Monday at North Star Elementary. I had been to North Star a few times prior and I’m starting to recognize students and make some connections. I love the quick little ”Heeyyyy I know you!” sort of comments in the halls – and getting to know kids a bit better.

The calm before the storm 😊

Learning Moment – on this day I was introduced to the wonders of how the mood of a class can drastically swing throughout the day. The first half of the day prior to lunch was so easy! The class was well behaved, and things were rolling along wonderfully. I don’t know if the kids were in a Monday stupor, or perhaps they were analyzing me for ways to get away with things… but regardless, after lunch it was an entirely different experience. Wow!

So my big take away is to never get too comfy, you never know when things are going to get interesting with a room full of kiddos.

Feb 8 – High Desert Life Skills

This was my first day taking an EA/Classified job opening. Fortunately it seems the wave of COVID is subsiding locally, and therefore there don’t seem to be as many sub openings some days. But I’m still quite eager to get in a classroom to help out and learn – so I found an opening at High Desert MS in the Life Skills classroom.

I had met a number of these students before on my first day of subbing, so it was really wonderful to see them again, and to get the chance to spend an entire day with them. The day felt more like a spring day, so we spent a great deal of time outside going for some walks and doing PE outside. We even got to see a bald eagle fly overhead on our class walk!

My favorite thing about this group was seeing how much they cared for, and looked out for each other. Kids would help each other with iPad problems, or were quick to give encouragement when someone reached a milestone. I also loved the openness the students had when sharing feelings about things too. And of course being remembered as the sub that tells dad jokes was a wonderful thing 😂

Perhaps the best moment of the day though was when I was helping a student with a clock/time lesson and he shared with me that I had ”McDonalds Hair” – my front bangs apparently looked like the Golden Arches to him. Priceless!!!

Having a chuckle during my lunch break about my McDonalds Hair.

Feb 9 – Pine Ridge EA

Pine Ridge Elementary will always feel like my ”home” school to me. My wife Becky has been teaching at Pine Ridge ever since it opened its doors eighteen years ago. I recall when the building only had two wings, and also when the playground was filled with modular buildings. And our two daughters are Pine Martens – Teagan is now in fifth grade there, Mrs. Crawford in 3rd – so it was wonderful to get my first sub job there last week.

In many ways, my teaching style/approach was heavily influenced in the halls of Pine Ridge. I have spent many hours as a volunteer in classrooms at PRE, and during those visits with my kids’ teachers, I really feel like I was observing and learning how to interact with a class. It is also the school were I ”taught” my first lesson to a group of students: Art Masters to Kinders!

It was a quick half day E.A. position, but really great to be back ”home” at Pine Ridge. While on a recess duty, I had three kinders come up to me and ask if I wanted to play ”Pets” with them. I said I could check in on the Pets while walking around… well it turned into over a half dozen little “kitties” following me around the playground. The cats were herding me 😂. After kitten duty was over – I took advantage of the recent nice weather, and the short work day to do some fishing. The flexibility of the sub role is something that I truly appreciate.

Feb 11 & 14 – High Desert Math

To round out the month I was back with the Diamondbacks for some 6th and 7th grade math! It was wonderful to see so many familiar students from prior classes at High Desert. That coupled with having my first back-to-back jobs in the same classroom really helped me understand how powerful building rapport with the students is. I prepared the FRANKS Treasure game ( aka One Eyed Willies treasure – didn’t want to copyright infringe 😂 ) for both days. The class and I alike had quite a bit of fun playing, and deepening knowledge around fractions, division, and percentages – and how they all relate to one another.

… And Many More

And as I finally finish up this post that took five days to write – I already have so many fun experiences for the next post, Some really cool experiences at the intersections with family and substitute teaching ✨