After two days of subbing I’m exhausted but happy.
Yes, you read that right. The school called me yesterday morning and asked me to fill in for my daughter’s class so I ended up teaching both my children two days in a row! Fortunately, both of them were excited to have me in their classrooms. The sight of Jasmine jumping up and down with joy when she saw me at the teacher’s desk will keep me smiling for days 🙂
My son’s 5th grade class is currently reading Heartbeat by Sharon Creech and wouldn’t you know — the book is in verse! It’s a great addition to my reading list for Caroline’s Novel Challenge. I borrowed an extra copy from the teacher and I’m about halfway through.
It’s interesting to hear 10- and 11-year-olds reflect on the story. What I see as simple, spare, beautiful language, they see as simplistic, literal and sometimes strange. They were quick to point out metaphors, personification and rhyme but were surprised when I suggested that some passages might mean more than they thought. Yes, the main character likes to run, but maybe she’s also trying to run away from things that she really can’t escape. And while scenes with the forgetful grandfather are funny, I tried to show them the undercurrent of sadness that comes from watching someone slip away before your eyes.
In my daughter’s 2nd grade class, they are reading How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, one of my favorite books for younger kids. After the 2nd graders wrote a summary paragraph, they drew pictures to illustrate the chapter we’d read together. What a riot! But figuring out the point of the chapter was a challenge for some kids.
Being in the classroom was a good reminder for me that it’s so important to look at your writing through the eyes of a child. Phrases you think they’ll understand can confuse them. Context doesn’t always clarify the meaning of a word, especially when the words are being read out loud by an expressionless beginning reader. While a teacher or parent might be there to help them understand what they’re reading, what happens when they read alone? Will your words make them want to read more, or will they put down the book in frustration?
There’s a chance I might sub for the first grade teacher who is on call for jury duty this week. I’m almost hoping I get the call. Kids have so much energy. I love their curiosity and enthusiasm. And being a sub is almost like being a grandparent: you go in and have fun with the kids and they’re on good behavior because it’s a welcome change from the every day. But if I don’t, I’ll have plenty to keep me busy. I’m a bit behind on my page count…