Thursday, March 17, 2011

A substitute teacher's lament

I have been fortunate enough to have almost a full week of employment as a Social Studies teacher this week. I have enjoyed being at the same school, developing relationships with students and other staff, and teaching in my subject areas. It has been so fulfilling to actually get to expound on material with which I am familiar and about which I am passionate, such as Canada's involvement in WWII. (Today's lesson was about the Conscription Crisis of 1942. So good.) But as much as I have been revelling in my reclaimed vocation, I have struggled with the temporary nature of my experience and the restrictions therein. I am in someone else's environment with someone else's guidelines, expectations, restrictions, and assignments, and though I may try to develop a sense of individuality in what I am doing each day, there is a limitation to how much of "Mr. Turner" I can be in another teacher's classroom. So much of teaching is based in relationship and continuity, and they are almost impossible to achieve as a substitute. So the bottom line is that, as much as I do enjoy some of the perks of not teaching (not working on Sundays, not having piles of grading, not having to function in the morning), I would gladly take on a teaching job again. It really does not feel like a whimsical wish or something I'd like to do if I could; it feels like a crucial part of my identity and being to be a teacher. I struggle with the idea of not teaching in the fall, because it seems like I need to be teaching to be fulfilled. It may not be in a typical classroom or school environment, but I really feel the need to teach. I am very glad that I know that I'm good at what I'm trained to do, and that I do love it; I can only hope that someone else recognizes my ability and desire and helps make my dreams a reality by realizing how awesome I am.

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