Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Well Do You Know the Pledge of Allegiance?

3'X5' Polycotton US Flag with 6' steel pole & steel bracket Kit
I certainly do not mean to challenge one's intelligence, but let's face it, we've been out of elementary school for quite a while. This is a gentle reminder so you are not caught in an embarrassing moment like a colleague of mine. As young students we had daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and we knew these precious words intimately. As adults (unless you are a elementary school teacher) we salute the flag sporadically throughout the year at meetings and special events. We are all humans, and humans forget.
And let me tell you, children never forget the substitute who botched the Pledge of Allegiance.

Thankfully it wasn't me! After reading this blog post, it won't be you.

After leading the Flag Salute during a recent substitute teaching job in a 2nd Grade class, I was told by one of the students that their last substitute teacher "messed up the pledge big time!" The class enthusiastically offered up laughter and her name. Ouch! I know the woman mentioned and I sure feel sorry for her. As teacher's, our voice needs to be strong and respectful during the pledge to set a good example.
Review the pledge before your next elementary school substitute teaching job, so your name isn't laughed about unmercifully.
I'm so proud to be an American and it is a joy to recount this oath of loyalty any chance I get:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lunch Room Etiquette

I attended an informative seminar on substitute teaching before I embarked on this career some 13 years ago. The sage advice from the seminar leader - a veteran teacher - had nothing to do with the classroom. It was about lunch room etiquette - and I'm not talking about a cafeteria full of students.

My dear readers, watch your demeanor in the teacher's break room. Remember that we are a guest and to act as such. This is the regular staff's retreat for the 45 minutes or so of a lunch period. There are several conversations going on at once and our role should be a polite listener. I'm not saying to be unresponsive. To the contrary, it is a balance of being approachable but hanging back a bit until you feel the vibe it is ok to jump in. Let instinct be your guide.

I've witnessed first hand when a new substitute teacher comes in and monopolizes the conversations. I know it annoyed me, so I imagine it sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard to the regular staff. It isn't pretty for that sub down the road! This behavior is looked on as irritating. Keep in mind that a teacher can tell the district office "please note that I don't want 'substitute Smith' to come to my class." Lunch room antics could be a career buster.

"A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something." - Wilson Mizner
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