“Hi, Mrs. Roberson!”
I smiled at the girl’s cheerful greeting as I entered the building, but in my head I was wondering who she was and how she knew me. Was she in one of those vibrant Honors Chemistry classes I’ve subbed a few times now? Was she in the health class that tried several stall tactics to avoid work, or the history class with the overly social tendencies? I felt bad for not knowing who she was, but it happens all too often. Students learn who I am long before I can begin to place names with their faces.
Being totally honest, unless I end up in long-term work, I generally don’t put in too much effort learning the names of the students I meet. A few memorable characters stand out. Anthony, the social freshman who tried to avoid work by continuously asking me personal questions. Donny, the squirrelly boy whose name I always have to call over and over again to get him to focus – but still makes me laugh with his antics. Sofia, the sweet, serious girl who carefully tracks every detail of every assignment and reminds me to introduce myself to the class when I forget to say my own name.
That’s three. Three students in the sea of hundreds that I’ve met subbing in this district.
I had a student tell me as he walked in the room that I was his favorite sub of all time. Of course I thanked him for the compliment, but I don’t remember seeing him before. Another asked me, “Weren’t you the sub last time Mr. M was gone?” I gave a standard, non-committal response: “Probably. I’m here a lot.”
It’s hard to mentally invest in this work, so I haven’t been. I do my job well. I focus on the tasks at hand and I sub each class well – clearly, well enough to maintain order, complete the lesson, and still have the students like me. But I take my work one class period at a time, and once that period’s over, I don’t really have to think about it anymore.
My mental investment has instead been turned towards more personal pursuits. I’ve been reading (I am Malala). I’ve been working on a handmade Christmas present for my husband. I’ve been spending time with friends and family on the weekends and holidays. I’ve been thinking about the future, both immediate and farther down the road. And there are other things happening in my life that I’m not ready to publicly post yet. So for now, I honestly don’t have too much else to say.
My mental investment isn’t in my current work. That’s why I don’t know the names of these students better, and it’s also why I’ve been less present on the blogosphere the past few weeks. My blog is about my work, and right now, my heart and attentions are turned elsewhere.
I think things will turn around soon. Change is on the horizon. Until then, I’m actually kind of enjoying living in the moment.