I’ll never forget how difficult it was to leave my first sub plans. During my first year of teaching, I arrived at school at 6am most days to figure out how I would spend my time with my class. I felt totally incompetent and unprepared! How in the world could I figure out IN ADVANCE what SOMEONE else might do with my class for SEVEN HOURS?! Obviously, I taught in a district that did not have mandated curriculum. Oh, how I longed to have a teacher’s manual and a class set of textbooks. Maybe even a movie! No, I was in a poor rural district and all the resources I had I either made or found in the one file cabinet in my room. In the long run, that was a blessing: I learned to write my own engaging curriculum. But that first year was certainly long.
Now I have a few tricks to making sub plans less cumbersome for my classroom, but for the first time I am leaving my preschooler behind as I attend a 3-day conference. I am faced with leaving sub plans for home. One student: my preschooler. Two cats, one aging.
I’ve been resisting the urge to write detailed plans for both my husband and my parents. But I finally caved. I sent an email to my parents with information about the brushing teeth routine, the bath routine and a plea to feed her vegetables. I’ve written a list for my husband of items to be sure to pack in Clara’s overnight bag as well as a note to remind him to feed and water the cats.
The difference between this absence and my first missed day of teaching is that I won’t be so nervous once I’ve left. Of course I’ll think about Clara and Max and the cats and my parents and I might even call, but I won’t be sitting in conference sessions with a pounding heart, looking at my watch every 15 minutes and reviewing what, exactly, they all are doing at that very moment. Thankfully, I have learned to enjoy my time away!