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My Other Blog–Why Teach

If you are looking for information on substitute teaching feel free to visit my other blog, Why Teach. I have been concentrating on making it more of a resource and will continue to build over the summer. Drop by.

A Gwinn Morning

I pulled up to Gwinn High School and the large plow-pile (of snow) had completely melted and the sun was up. On the drive in, I spotted three sandhill cranes down in a hollow of land with standing melt water. Nothing is green yet, the rushes and grasses from last year stand yellowed and broken. Only catkins and pussy willow are showing a bit of color. The trees have yet to go thru green-up this spring–we need rain.

Today I teach within my major, English. It is the first time this year that I have spent the whole day teaching English. I’ve instructed everything from Chemistry to German. And today, I walk in to giving a test on Shakespeare’s J. Ceasar. My favorite Shakespeare works are Hamlet, King Lear, and Romeo and Juliet.

But I want to drop back in thought to this morning. I love coming to Gwinn–this is the school where all three of my children graduated. It was my first school–as a substitute. There is always a feeling of coming home. Winter mornings remind me of dropping off my swimmers for 6 a.m. practices. Spring of track, prom and graduations where I have cried and watched so many young friends march. I am proud to be from Gwinn. Some people think this is not a place to be proud of–it is being stereo-typed and treated like some inner city. But Gwinn is old school, if you let it. Gwinn is hometown pride, if you let it. Gwinn is  a place of hard work and perseverance.

Gwinn gave me the confidence and backbone to overcome, chronic fatigue, back pain, and my marriage. And I am a teacher, here. Yet I still learn everytime I am in the building.

Tuesday Twelve-How to Help a Substitute Feel Welcome in Your School

My favorite schools help me feel like a professional. They are welcoming schools that provide me with tools and knowledge. A good school fosters your success.

  • It is useful to have a folder with disciplinary forms, lockdown and drill procedures, phone numbers, extensions and dialing instructions to offices.
  • Name badges, or a badge that identifies you as a substitute teacher or aide allow other staff to greet you and offer guidance and support.
  • Having the principal, vice principal or other designated administrator stop in shows students they are expected to respect, and lets the substitute know they are in a supportive environment.
  • Inform your substitute teachers who does the scheduling and how to update availability, and if an emergency arrives how they can call-in.
  • Greeting the substitute in halls is friendly and sets a tone. Unfortunately, I have been in schools where I walk down the school and no one looks me in the eye.
  • Provide substitutes with your school calendar. This allows subs to prepare for vacation times or attend school concerts and sporting events.
  • Let substitutes know where job postings for the district are posted.
  • Where is the lounge? Where can I put my lunch? Is there a coffee pot?
  • What do you expect of substitutes during prep hours?
  • Is there a staff bathroom near the classroom? Do we get a break? In a grade school that I frequent I get two breaks and a lunch. I love my days there as I pace myself and get a breather.
  • If you are the teacher leaving notes, please let us know what disciplinary tools you use in the classroom and the time students shift subjects, rooms or go to specials.
  • When leaving notes let us know which staff we can turn to in a pinch, and ask them to pop their head in during the course of the day.

Tuesday Twelve – Essential Oils

Massage Table in ClassroomEarlier this month I was a substitute teacher for a Health Occupation’s class. The class is held at a local hospital and three high schools attend. These students are considering a career in nursing or another medical career. Their teacher, knowing I am a certified massage therapist, had me develop the lesson for the Friday class. We covered: massage as a career, applications of massage in nursing, essential oils, and instruction on how to give a chair massage to someone confined to a wheel chair.

We did not go through all these essential oils. But my bottles were rotated through the class and we discussed the use of essentials, In the 3 and 4rth hour class I had a young woman come in with nausea (flu symptoms). She rubbed some peppermint oil into her abdomen area in a clockwise pattern and had relief in less than 15 minutes. We also demonstrated the warming qualities of a balancing blend and lavender on someone with menstrual pain.

1. Lavender – Migraines and calming
2. Peppermint – Nausea and headache
3. Tea Tree – Antiseptic and Anti-fungal
4. Wintergreen – Muscle and joint pain*
Frankincense – Anointing, deepens breath
6. Sweet Orange – Awakening and cleansing
7. Rosemary – Circulation and energizing**
Lemongrass – Scar tissue and muscle ache
9.  Cypress – Circulation and muscle spasms
10. Ylang Ylang – Antidepressant and relaxant
11. Ginger – Menstrual pain and lung congestion ***
Eucalyptus – Antibacterial and antiviral

*May raise blood pressure use with caution on clients with High Blood Pressure.
** Use a carrier-oil as may irritate sensitive skin.
*** Use with caution very heating effect use in compresses.

Don’t forget to check out for more Inspiration!

Free Write Fling, October 22, 2007

Substitute Teaching—Writing Prompt for Class

If you could eat one type of food for a month, what would you choose?

How do you think you would feel about the food over the month?

I can see eating brown rice and butter with garlic pepper for one month. I like the texture of brown rice; the short pearly grains sold at the Marquette Food Co-op are organic.

I cannot picture eating it in this manner for one month though. I would need or want to alter it. Sweet for breakfast with raisins and cinnamon. Spicy for dinner with curry. Fortified with kidney beans and salsa. There are so many things to do with a bowl of rice.

At the co-op, I can buy it in a big brown 50lb bag—so my rice would not run out over the month. Brown rice takes 45 minutes to cook in a soup pot with water and a lid. I would need to cook up batches to eat through-out the day. When substitute teaching I can take a bowl to work and microwave it with a sprinkle of water, or I can eat it cold. I can eat brown rice with a spoon, fork, my fingers (although that would not be very much like a teacher) or with chopsticks. Brown rice is nutritious and nutty, aromatic and opens up conversation. Try a bowl and see!

I prefer that the butter be the sweet creamery butter from the co-op and the garlic pepper can be purchased at the co-op as well.

After a month—if not allowed to supplement my brown rice in other ways, I would not want any rice for a long, long time. I would have to eat wheat berries, quinoa, barley, or another grain.

For more information on this Free Write Fling.

How do I feel: I am jealous of those students who picked pasta and meatballs and pizza. Proud that I picked a versatile worldly food that is odd to most kids. Curious to what the rest of the class wrote in their journals.


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