Thursday, May 27, 2010

May Memories in the Moment of Teaching

Since the spring semester ended at Pitt, it has left me more time to pick up substitute teaching jobs before the end of the school year. I was in for a friend of mine that I met in one of my ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. Then I found out that she was going to be out for several weeks and I was asked to cover her class teaching ESL! It has been a wonderful experience, especially since I just finished my training to teach ESL. It has felt like having my own class again by teaching the same group of kids for a consistent period of time. The kids are very sweet, hard working, and quite humorous. And I love that my friend trusts me with her kids to do the planning and teaching my way while she is away. We talk on the phone and I give her updates. Her stories are also ten times funnier because now I have gotten to know her kids and can appreciate it more. It has been a dream to be in her classroom with her sweeties and I love that it is how I will spend most of my time closing out the school year.

  • Making a class book about animals. It has been a sort of research/writing project and the kids have taken it to the next level with their high interest and effort. Tomorrow we will read the finished project and hopefully the principal will pop in to see it, as well.
  • Getting to know the kids better to be able to have fun with them by listening to their stories and joking around with them. It is good to let them see you laugh. And it is great to see them open up, too.
  • Allowing room for the kids to be able to guide the direction of instruction by using their interests and suggestions. It is lovely when kids can be part of the process in their own learning. We have done this with the animal book project, recreating a book we've been reading into pop-up sets and puppets to practice the sequencing of events, and individualized book reports.
  • Smiling faces that greet me by name, sprinkled with hugs. As a sub, I can sometimes feel like I'm just another person coming and going. You need time to develop rapport with the kids.
  • Teachable moments--that individualized connection to learning that makes it so deliciously meaningful and magical. It is having a trusting relationship with the children to allow you to take them on a journey of learning--to be in that moment of thinking and creativity!


  1. Awwww- you are actually making me miss my class right now! I am so glad that you are having such a great experience!

  2. Wow Jamie! How cool! It sounds like you are doing an amazing job with those kids and I'm so glad you're having a good time doing it.

  3. I am glad to hear that you have really been enjoying your subbing job! I wish I could write a post about loving my job...:)

  4. Congrats on picking up the temporary position. Your friend must think a lot of you to ask you specifically to take over. =)

    And I'm so glad that you're enjoying the kids so much, it's passionate teacher's like you that really make a difference in kids lives.

  5. Thanks Katie, Ellie, Carli, and Melissa! Your words mean a lot to me. Sometimes I still feel unsure about myself and I just figured I needed to toot my own horn a bit.

    As an update, the principal did come to listen to the kids read their book. He was really impressed and asked if we could laminate the book so he could put it in the school library. This a big deal for the kids!