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A Week In the Life…

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So, I’ve been back to work as a substitute teacher for about a month and a half now. It’s been about 22 years since I’ve been a substitute teacher. I did it for one semester after I finished my student teaching and then I worked as a teacher for 8 before taking time off to stay at home with the kids.

 

Miss Terich, IHM school, 1995.

Miss Terich, IHM school, 1995.

Me in my purple and aqua Fairgrove sweatsuit on award day in kindergarten. Circa 1998?

Me in my purple and aqua Fairgrove sweatsuit on award day in kindergarten. Circa 1998? Side note – what is up with my hair?

 

Over the years, I’ve heard people say that they can sub “for easy money” as well as  a flexible schedule. I have no idea what these people are talking about. Subbing is not an easy job, nor is it for anyone who doesn’t like kids. That being said, I have come across several subs over the years that seem to HATE their job and I wonder why on earth they’re doing it. It’s not easy to get hired as a sub these days, and honestly? The money isn’t great. (Perhaps in certain districts it is better than where I work, but honestly? No one’s rolling in the dough.)

I’m in the fortunate position to be able to sub at the school where my kids attend. Not only do I know a lot of the kids, but I also know a lot of the teachers, since I volunteer a lot. It’s nice to be somewhere that’s comfortable. However, when you sub, it’s like you’re auditioning every day you have a new class. I really do my best to learn the kids names before the end of the day. This can be tricky if I’m in a big combination class with over 60 kids, but it’s my goal to make a connection with the kids and leave knowing that if I’m back in the classroom I can call the kids by name again.

My Friday afternoon spot at our school, teaching my 3rd grade knitters.

My Friday afternoon spot at our school, teaching my 3rd grade knitters.

This week has been a really diverse week in the life of a sub.

Monday I was in 5th grade. Fortunately, I was able to do a 4-day gig in the same 5th grade class. I already knew a lot of the kids, but after 4 days I REALLY knew the kids. It was great to feel so familiar with them and to know where I was going for those days. Monday was the 4th day of this assignment.

Tuesday I went in not knowing where I was going -whether I would be a roving sub, going from class to class, or if I were in one class all day. When I got to school I learned that I’d be in the K-1 combination/inclusion class. The farthest thing I could posssibly do from 5th grade. Other than trying to get to know all 63 kids, the day went very well, and I was in excellent company with the teachers, aides, and other sub that were there.

Today I was in 1st grade. This was nice – I was in a class I’d spent two days in. The beginning of my day was ridiculously frantic and forgot my glasses in the car, but once we settled in it was fine. I knew the kids – they knew me – and I had parent helpers for the first hour plus. I was there a half-day, which was also nice.

Tomorrow I’m in 5th grade again, but a different class. This is my daughter’s class, which will no doubt embarrass her, but be fine for everyone else. I am very familiar with this class, since I volunteer almost every week. Bonus? We’re going on a field trip. This will be the first field trip I’m doing as a sub – hopefully this will be fun and no one will be lost. (kidding. sort of)

Friday I don’t normally work. I teach knitting to the 3rd graders in small groups, so I try to keep this day free. After a full week (almost) of working AND having my husband out of town, I’m really going to savor my Friday morning. (Or maybe I’ll drive to Burbank to finally deposit some checks I’ve been carrying around for a month.)

Being a sub has been a great way to become familiar with what happens in each grade. It also lets me hone some long sleeping skills – like getting a group of 30+ kids to settle down and follow directions, practice my patience, and my memory skills. It also helps with being flexible.

I won’t say being a sub is especially hard or unpleasant at all – it’s just not a cake walk. If you’re doing it right, you’re not just babysitting – you’re teaching, or at least facilitating or supporting the learning that’s been taking place before you step in. And if you’re miserable doing it, this isn’t the job for you.

Back to School for Mom

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A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I was a teacher. (I’m sure I’ve blogged about this before.) When my son was born 13 years ago, I couldn’t find anyone to contract share with, so we decided I’d just stay at home. 13 years, 3 kids, and 2 books later, here I am.

Me, on Halloween, circa 1993 or 1994.

Me, on Halloween, circa 1993 or 1994, with 2 of my kindergarteners and an 8th grade helper.

Apparently I don’t have many photos of me teaching (which makes sense, I suppose), but a lot of my photos from teaching involve me being in some sort of costume.

Singing "Chatanooga Choo Choo" with 2 first graders for our USO show.

Singing “Chatanooga Choo Choo” with 2 first graders for our USO show.

The best costume by far.

Doing the "Kindergarten Conga" with a fellow teacher and all the kids.

Doing the “Kindergarten Conga” with a fellow teacher and all the kids.

The mom who did my pin curls was fantastic.

So now, after all that time, I’m back to school. Last week was my first assignment. I didn’t think I’d get called so soon after my paperwork was finished, but I found myself getting a call at 7:30am to come in for a 4th grade class. I needed to be ready and leave in 5 minutes, so I didn’t have time to make a lunch, and I was a little frazzled. The good news? It was probably the best way to go about it – just get thrown in.

The day was fine. 4th graders who were just up my alley, since I taught 4th grade for a bit. They were good kids. The next day I was called again, and did 3rd grade with a lot of kids I knew. It was kind of a crazy day, but fun.

Tomorrow I’m in 5th grade, and my friend is subbing next door to me. That should be fun. For some reason I’m a little nervous. I think it’s because I’ll have my daughter’s class for part of the day, and the other class is full of kids I know who may or may not give me a hard time. We’ll see. Hopefully they’ll have some mercy on me.

My husband LOVES that I’m “back to work.” He’s been calling me “Working Girl” just like the Melanie Griffith movie of the 80s, but with better hair (I hope).

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(It also makes me sound like a prostitute, but maybe that’s just me.)

So, we’re all adjusting to new schedules, getting out the door sooner, and Mom not being available all the time. We’ll see how it goes. For now, I’m enjoying being back, even if it’s only one day at a time.

 

Have you rejoined the work force after taking time off? What did you learn from it? What was the hardest part? I’d love to hear!

 

~Genevieve

And the winner is…

This afternoon I printed all the replies/entries, cut them, folded them, and put them in my fondue pot. 😀

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My daughter swirled them around and chose a winner.

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And the winner is…

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If this is you, please contact me and I will get your address.

Thank you!!!

~Genevieve

It’s Book Release Day!!

Hi everyone! It’s book release day! It seems less of a big deal in the grand scheme of life than the first book seemed, but I am really proud of this one. I have not only written it, like the first one, and added 3 fun quizzes and lots of fairy facts, but I have 6 designs in it that I’m really proud of. I did an interview on Lattes & Llamas a couple of days ago… HERE it is!

That Moment When You Realize Something Big

A lot is going on in my life right now. Next week, my second book comes out. I’m excited and nervous and am hoping it does well. I have a stack of postcards to bring around to local yarn shops and local bookstores and I “haven’t had time” to take them around. Partially because of late I usually have no more than an hour and forty-five minutes of time to get anything done, as I still go up to help my daughter with certain tasks up at school, and partially because I’m a little nervous to go around and introduce myself, asking people to trust that the book is good enough for people to buy and make their store money.

I know. I have issues.

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I have so much to do and – I don’t know about you, but when I have TOO much to do, I get overwhelmed and feel helpless on how to even BEGIN to get it all done. Also, after another failed attempt at Botox injections for my headaches, I think I need to come to terms with the fact that I have to stop looking for external things to help me heal and instead look inward.

I need to find my Inner Zen.

I need to find my Inner Zen.

I think, if I can get a handle on the following things, I might start feeling better:

Get more sleep – 5-6 hours isn’t cutting it for me

Drink more water – I find myself realizing I’m incredibly thirsty after going several hours without anything but coffee.

Eat better – I need to do this for so many reasons. One is to help the headaches and one is to lose some weight.

Organize my life – I’ve recently had a few people tell me they don’t know how I do it all, keeping busy with all our activities, writing a book, volunteering in classrooms, teaching a class, etc. It’s easy – my house is a disaster. In fact, I’m not sure which is more neglected, my body or my house…. I think it’s actually my body/well-being this round.

Get regular exercise – this is huge. I think if I could carve out at LEAST 30 minutes a day to get physical it would make at least a little bit of difference.

Learn to Meditate – a friend of mine tells me she used to have headaches all the time til she learned to meditate. I’m not sure where I go to do this, but I think it’s something that would be good for me for all aspects of life.

So this week I’m committing to start on a path to change all of these things. It seems like a mountain to scale right now, looking at it all in front of me, but hopefully one step at a time without getting distracted by the minutia will get me to the top sooner than later.

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Have you made a life-overhaul? If so, what helped you the most? I’d love to hear!!

Happy Monday!

~Genevieve

Going Back to School

So, I’ve gone back to school. No, I’m not getting my Masters degree, or doing anything with my credential. I’m not taking classes at the local CC or an enrichment. I’m going back to 5th grade.

My daughter is back to school from winter break, only she has two broken wrists. So she can’t write with either hand and needs assistance with most tasks. Since I currently don’t have a job outside the home, I am available to help her out. I sit next to her and write for her, basically. She does the work – I write it down.

Now, I used to teach 4th grade. I know what kids are like. I’ve been on field trips with them – including a 3-day field trip to Astrocamp. But I’ve learned a lot these last 3 days.

-Sitting in a classroom at a desk all day is HARD. All I want to do is stretch out and run around.

- It’s SO EASY to get your work done on time if you just sit down and do it.

-So many of the kids in 5th grade would much rather talk and socialize and are really easily distracted. I don’t know how anyone gets anything done (which I realize is the opposite of what I just said).

-They DO need subs. It frustrates me a bit to know I’m not subbing right now. I’ve been in class with two substitutes in the last 2 days and neither one of them did much besides nag and snap at kids.

-When and if I ever get back to the classroom full-time, I will keep all of this in mind.

She has casts on for 2.5 more weeks. We’ll see how it goes. The one good thing (or few, I suppose) is that she can still dance. She participated in her tap class last night just fine, which is hopeful, since she has Musical Theater and most likely a dance elective. Knowing she can still do these activities is really important, since she can’t do a lot of other things she loves, like knit, write, draw, paint, sew, and cook.

My girl, tapping with her casts on.

My girl, tapping with her casts on.

So, for now, I’m going back to school. It’s an adjustment for sure – for me to be back in student mode and for my daughter to have to rely on me. And, I suppose, for the teachers who have to deal with an adult sitting in on all their lessons.

And because I’m fully immersed in Fairy Tales right now, I will refrain from bringing apples to the teachers.

Superhero Arms and Two Broken Bones

The last thing anyone wants as a parent is for their children to get sick or hurt or struggle in any way. A lot of times in families, one child seems to get the lion’s share of illness and/or injury. Of my three children, my middle child has been the one who gets the most injuries and major illnesses.

When she was 8.5 months old, she broke her wrist.

She didn't let it get her down.

She didn’t let it get her down.

When she was 8, she had her appendix out.

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Waiting to have her appendix out.

Now she is 10, and took her new rollerskates out for a spin the other day. She’s a pretty good skater, but she tried to do something and somehow lost her balance and ended up falling on her hands.

Both hurt badly enough that I thought a visit to Urgent Care was in order. They x-rayed both wrists.

Getting x-rayed

Getting x-rayed

When the doc came back, she said she had bad news. I was really hoping she’d say ONE is broken and ONE is sprained. I didn’t get my wish. Both wrists were broken. But at urgent care, they can’t put a cast on, so they sent us home with splints and a sling, and the number for an orthopedic group to see on Monday (which meant two days and two nights with just splints).

So, we went home and iced her wrists and tried to keep her comfortable. There’s not much you can do with two broken wrists, so she needs a lot of help, and can’t do her favorite things, like knit, draw, craft, or cook. It made for a sad girl, so I have been trying to get her out of the house to walk and get some sunshine.

The outdoors lifted her spirits.

The outdoors lifted her spirits, at least a little.

When bathing, she gets to wear supercool plastic bags.

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On Monday, we went into see the orthopedist. After an hour and a half wait, because we got there early and he got there late due to an emergency surgery, he saw us. I was really hoping that urgent care got it wrong and she didn’t really have two breaks, but alas, she did.

One down, one to go.

One down, one to go.

Getting the second one.

Getting the second one.

The doctor and I both thought she looked like she had superhero arms.

Once I put on her sweater, she said, "Now I have a cape!"

Once I put on her sweater, she said, “Now I have a cape!”

She is getting used to them. She’s trying to feed herself, but for the most part isn’t able to. She needs help brushing her teeth, buckling her seatbelt, getting dressed… We’re all adjusting to what she needs. My youngest daughter automatically unbuckles her seatbelt for her when we reach our destination. My son knows she needs a straw when he pours everyone milk. When I eat, I give her a bite, then myself a bite.

We’ve been very fortunate. All 5 of us are healthy. We’ve had one serious health scare in all our years and it turned out fine. This little bump in the road is helping us all work together. I feel closer to my daughter, actually. Instead of doing all her usual solitary activities – like drawing, knitting, reading, or crafting, she and I talk. We sit next to each other at meals. We gab in the ladies room. She’s getting to an age where she doesn’t always want Mom around, but now she needs Mom around and it’s actually nice for both of us to reconnect with each other.

Yesterday, we were all watching Star Trek together (what else) and I said, “Pause it! I need to use the bathroom.” (I’d been holding it, honestly.) She got up and followed me and said, “Me, too!” I looked at her and said jokingly, “You’re lucky I love you!” and she replied, “I’m lucky you’re my Mommy.”

While I’m not happy she’s injured, or has to wear two casts, I’ll take this time we get together and make the most of it for the both of us.

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