(Originally Published 1/13/21)
I started blogging again so that I could record my thoughts throughout my teaching experiences. And I left you hanging a few posts ago...
So to continue the story; after a few months of subbing, I learned a few things:
(1) I was enjoying teaching.
(2) The only thing I didn't enjoy was feeling a little bit trapped by the lesson plans (or lack thereof) left for me. I don't fault any teacher for any lack in that department. From what they have told me, it's remarkably hard to get a sub to follow the sub plans. I received numerous compliments for simply getting the job done, which surprised me. But since I started this with the intent to figure out if I liked to teach or not, I felt that the fact that I wanted to do more and had ideas about teaching that excited me might be a good indicator that I should go for it.
(3) There were different rules for "emergency subs" that not everyone sees eye to eye on. I was only allowed to pick up a job 24 hours in advance, where "regular subs" can take the jobs at any time. From my understanding, the union and OSPI had pushed for these rules to be in place to put certificated subs in a better position. I understand the idea behind this, in theory. They do have different (but not necessarily more) schooling.
But in practice, I would often have a teacher complain to me, "I want to plan ahead and I know that you will do what I ask you to do. Now, I'm forced to take this other certificated sub, even though my students report that he's on his phone the entire time he's here. He even told the students that he doesn't get paid enough to do anything else." So, you can see that a system based on merit might be a good idea. We may need to put more power in the hands of principals so they can make a per-case determination. There was always a tug of war between the office and the teachers as far as getting the help they desired.
At this point, I started looking into grad school. I was lucky enough to have talked to a few friends who had worked through the program I was interested in (WGU). They were able to answer some basic questions that I had. I'll get into that a little bit more in another post.
When researching, I looked at the list of all the classes that I would have to take for my Masters in depth. Each class interested me. I was excited to study everything on that list! I saw that as another sign that I was on the right track. It was also pretty cool when I figured out that getting a "teaching certificate" would cost about the same as grad school. That made it a no-brainer decision, in my opinion.
After I was accepted into grad school in the Fall of 2019, I didn't always feel supported in that decision. Some friends and teachers would begrudgingly say "good for you" in a sarcastic tone. And it was mostly women sounding snide. I'm not really sure what to make of that. (Well, I do have some theories, but that's another post too!) More importantly, there were people who said "good for you" in an enthusiastic tone. And really, when I look back, those are the people who I truly trust personally or look up to professionally.
In an industry that is hopefully on the brink of change, it might be a good idea to embrace "outsiders"... the ones who didn't come to teaching "the right way" with a Bachelor's Degree at age 22. I now find myself hoping to find ways to encourage these less-traditional, creative, prospective teachers. After all, studies support the idea that students respond positively when they are exposed to teachers who live outside the mold a little. We all benefit when we bring more voices to the table.