Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Observation #2 on Subbing in Lebanon: How I Was Viewed By Students, Teachers and Staff

When I first jotted the above title down, I had not even included the bit about teachers and staff – and when I did realize to include it, I also realized that I considered what students thought of me far more important (or, at least, that's what was implied by the order in which the questions came to me).

For a second, I was worried that there was something wrong with valuing student opinions so much – or more than those of teachers. I worried that I was conflating how much students liked me with how much they respected me.

Mixed up in that was the realization that a certain amount of student approval was necessary for it to be possible for me to do my job – and that a further helping would make my work a lot easier. (And, of course, that good reports from students would encourage teachers to ask me to sub for them again... which is not a good incentive, is it?)

Truth be told, I am still a little unsure at times what motivated some of the things I did.

That said, however, the more experience I got the easier I found it to refuse student requests and demands and the easier to exert my will. I don't know if this was because I was learning or because I was slowly burning out (meaning that I had less patience to work with students vs. use my LCSD-granted authority like a club spiked bat). At this point – without more perspective – I don't really know.

As far as students were concerned, I left the job sure that I was very well-liked by students. When it comes to teachers, I suspect there was a pretty good variety of opinion.... though of course the same problem arises here as it did with my desire for feedback: I was the only staff member in the room 99% of the time, so no other teachers really saw me at work.

I know I got lots of compliments from teachers, but I also got the sense that there were several teachers who did not want me subbing for their class, for what I assume were a variety of reasons (the existence of this blog likely being one of them). There were also, of course, a large contingent of teachers who really didn't care as long as nothing went horribly wrong when I was in the room.

I hope that my predilection towards the student end of the question comes from the fact that I think working with students is the most important part of the job.


Jen said...

Well, the students were the only ones who "saw you in action" so there feedback was the most valid, was it not? Now, whether the fact that they "liked you" is actually a positive assessment of your teaching skills, we'll never know. :)

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