Students and teachers alike are back in classes here today – and I’m at home sorting out what paperwork to do next so that someone hires me.
There aren’t any externally-posted positions for me to apply to right now other than “Teacher-on-Call” (ie. substitute teacher). I’m feeling strangely ambivalent towards the idea. The obvious advantages are that you don’t have to take your work home with you as a TOC; no planning, no prep, no marking, no report cards. This was sounding really, really good by the end of my practicum, but now that I’ve already had a good chunk of time away from lesson / unit planning I’m less certain.
At the hiring panel during my final week on campus, one district HR rep tried to convince us that TOCing is where we should want to be right now – seeing how other teachers do things and learning from their their tricks. She had a point, but I don’t think snagging people’s “tricks” is going to cut it in the long run. I’ve barely scratched the surface at planning and implementing the kind of classroom I want to be a part of. As a TOC, I’m going to be walking into someone else’s room every day, teaching someone else’s lesson. Until I spend more time wading into the deep stuff, trying to structure challenges for students that keep them hooked in without boring or breaking them, I’m not really getting any closer to mastering this thing. I’m also not likely to see any lesson plans that push my own boundaries in terms of cooperative learning, student inquiry, WCYDWT / media-driven stuff, etc.
The obvious disadvantage to TOCing is that kids try to get away with murder when there’s a sub. (At least I know my class did when I was in high school. But they were exceptional; every now and then when students were nuts in my practicum, I’d stop and remember my own grade 9 class and realize that things could be a LOT worse.) Again, this is good and bad. The flip side is that this’ll give me experience in an area I’d like to get a better grip on. I’ve already had a trial-by-fire which has given me a good head start so I don’t feel helpless or hopeless. The real disadvantage here, hidden beneath the obvious one, is that I’ll get no experience in setting down long-term classroom expectations and building a good learning environment.
So, meh. First things first, though: time to get hired, pay the bills and get access to internal district job postings. And if I start to feel really stagnant in terms of planning, I can always get my Moodle server running, pick a course and plan something for the heck of it.