Substitute Teaching: Science & Multi-Media (CMS 2)

It is always nice when I walk into a school and kids remember my name. “Mr. Guy, right?” “Who are you subbing for, Mr. Gillie?” “Hi Mr. Guile.” I got greeted by several students in the hall. I subbed at Centennial Middle School once before. A sewing class. “Are you subbing for Ms. Thompson again, Mr. G?”

I was very flattered. I wasn’t subbing for Ms. Thompson. Lucky me. I know nothing about sewing. I was subbing in what I thought were six sections of enrichment science. Since “Honors” is no longer a politically correct term in Utah education (even though some schools still use it), many schools get around the problem by rebranding the honors program as the “Enrichment Program.” The one difference is most schools that offer enrichment classes offer many more sections than if they had with honors. What I got instead were three sections of science and three sections of multimedia.

This is where the problem started. The teacher is obviously a science teacher. The classroom is like a museum of personally collected fossils and collected rocks. Utah is a great place to live if you are an amateur paleontologist or geologist. The lesson plan for science was well thought out and planned in detail and class went as smooth as chocolate cream frosting. The multimedia class was: “watch any video in the class you like and discuss camera angles and lighting afterward.” Beautiful lesson plan and then nothing.

The problem is the multimedia kids were the most interested in their subject. They came to class ready to edit in iMovie. I left a note for the teacher that I know a lot about iMovie and could have taught that instead. The school districts, however, want subs to follow the teacher’s lead. The students were very disappointed. Still, I wrote a detailed and complete lesson plan and we dissected BBC’s Planet Earth: Caves detailing all the lighting tricks, CG effects and camera work. Fortunately, the kids already knew a bunch about this and so the lesson went well.

As I walked out, kids said goodbye, getting my name as right as before. What a boost to one’s morale when the kids are friendly outside of class as well as in. Middle School is nice this way. The kids are nice and not cool enough yet to treat subs with the apathy subs get at high schools.

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