I recently have started my new position as a substitute teacher for a local school district. It’s been a fun and difficult job so far from keeping the students in line to figuring out where the main teacher placed his or her master notebooks. I’ve said in my previous posts that it was in my plans to become a substitute teacher so that I would gain experience in front of the classroom and to rebuild my confidence after my student teaching debacle. So far it’s been working, and I’ve been grateful. I have subbed kindergarten and sixth grade so far, two grades on the opposite sides of the elementary spectrum. Both have their own challenges and rewards. Despite receiving the substitute position, I still have my insecurities and anxieties about teaching.
My recent anxiety has been about my recent substitute teaching job in a sixth-grade class. I’m worried that the laptops the sixth graders used for their science and social studies projects are going to be stolen because I struggled to lock the container where the laptops are placed. I know it’s an irrational fear since there are likely custodians who are responsibility for checking to make sure everything is locked, but I cannot help catastrophizing. What if the laptops are stolen? Will it be my fault? Will I carry the guilt of not being thorough about locking everything before I left? It makes my stomach churn when I think about.
Another recent anxiety is what if I teach misconceptions to students. These people are going to be the next generation. An example was when I taught absolute value, integers, and less than and greater than to the sixth graders. I’ve tutored a sixth grader in math and was bombarded with math when I worked in a sixth-grade class, so I felt pretty confident at the time I taught it. A day later I worried because what about if my confidence was a fluke? What about if I had no idea what I was doing and my brain tricked me into thinking what I knew what I was doing. Did I teach them wrong?
I’m glad I’m moving past my student teaching debacle by subbing, but I wonder if something is going to go wrong? Is a teacher going to be mad at me? I just want this insecurity to go away.
Photo: By Flickr user enixii. [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons