For the past two weeks, I’ve been experiencing déjà vu and beginning-of-school jitters all at once. You see, I’m back in the classroom. Temporarily, at least. I’m doing a long-term sub assignment for a teacher who’s on maternity leave.
True, I’ve subbed some over the last couple school years, but just a day here or there. This is different because it’s every day, all day. And I’ll be there until the last day of school (four more weeks, but who’s counting?) I’m also subbing in a grade level/ subject area I’m well accustomed to–7th grade English. (woot, woot!)
Right now, we’re reading The Outsiders, and in a couple weeks, we’ll start one of my all-time FAVORITE novels, The Giver. I have really good classes, so I guess you could say that I lucked out as far as long-term subbing jobs go. (Honestly, I only accepted the job because it was 7th grade English 🙂 )
Since I’ve technically been out of the classroom for eight years now and have mainly subbed in the younger grades (at my kids’ schools), I’d forgotten how much I like this age of kids. I remember my own middle school years fairly well for some odd reason. High school is a blur, but middle school gym? I can still smell the locker room. And I can still empathize with those awkward, transformative years.
Of course, things are a little different in school now, I’m learning. For one, the students at this particular school use Chromebooks to do most of their work on. They can also have their phones in class (and use them some) which is very strange to me. Many of the kids wear earbuds and listen to music while they work. The schools are learning to embrace technology, I guess. I can see definite benefits, but also drawbacks to it.
Even with all the changes, it hasn’t been difficult to shift back into teacher mode. However, I’ve also maintained my writer mode, too. I bring my own laptop to work while the kids are working (since I don’t have to do lesson plans or grade assignments). I’m also listening and observing every chance I get, especially in the hallways. These kids are not far from the target age I write for. I’ve asked them questions: like do you abbreviate or spell out the whole word when you text? And tell me more about Fortnite (which they loved, of course!) A writer is always observing, and hanging around a bunch of thirteen-year-olds definitely has its benefits when you write young adult novels.
The jury is still out on whether I’ll actually return to teaching full time again. There’s so much I love about the job, but other things I don’t. I guess you could say this is kind of like a test run. One thing’s for sure–I won’t stop writing even if I do go back. Kind of like being a mom, writing has just become part of who I am.
But regardless of what happens in the future, I’m enjoying being back at school. Working with kids, reading good books, and even having some time to work on my own novels–what’s not to love?