When I left my job six months ago, my plan was to go back to school.
To be honest, elementary school wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
And, yet, nonetheless, that’s where I found myself a few weeks ago, marking my first day in first grade.
My plans of pursuing a master’s have been put on hold, the job search goes all too slowly, and money would be a nice thing to have. So for the second time in my life, I went back to grade school.
I’d worked once before as a substitute teacher, 16 years ago, ironically under not dissimilar circumstances — I’d hit a bump in the road in college and was reevaluating my future course, and, in the meantime, worked as a substitute in the Huntsville City Schools. I worked only sporadically then, but the highlight was, without question, going back to my high school alma mater, spending the day teaching, and, wonder of wonders, eating lunch in the teachers lounge. It was more than a little surreal, and far cooler to me than it probably objectively should have been.
And now I’m back. My first day back in the classroom was almost three weeks ago, an interesting day that I spent an hour or two filling in for different teachers who were in conferences, starting with first grade and moving on to fourth and sixth. I’ve been in high school one day, and in elementary the rest.
I’m enjoying it. A lot. For one thing, it feels like work, and after six months of not working, that’s a nice feeling. I worked four days in a row the second week, three of those in the same classroom, and at the end of those four days I was the most awesome kind of exhausted ever.
I’ve gotten to do some guilt-free reading during breaks and planning periods, and that’s been nice.
But the most incredible part of all are the occasions when I actually get to teach. A lot of it is babysitting while they take tests or read chapters or watch videos, but every once in a while, I’m teaching. In a fortunate twist, most of that has been language arts, and I can do that. We worked today on similes and metaphors, and, yeah, it was fun. A lot of fun.
Subbing pays quite poorly, so this is something I have to do while I have no job, and will have to give up when I get one again.
To be honest, I’ll be way more sad about the latter.