Performance Review

A few months ago, I pondered the type of projects I was going to pursue next. 

After much deliberation, I decided that, for now, one of the best ways I could serve my community would be to help alleviate the staffing shortages in our schools.

When my paperwork was finally approved, I stared at the available assignments with some  trepidation.

Eventually, I clicked the “Accept” button for a 1-day assignment as a 5th-grade science teacher in a neighboring school district.

Since then, I’ve worked in four other districts–pre-K, high school, middle school–across myriad income levels, so that teachers can: go to the dentist, celebrate their birthday, take their child to the doctor, attend an IEP meeting, or recover from Covid.

The jobs are never quite the same and are often extremely different from one day to the next. Nearly every day begins with an encounter with  imposter syndrome.

However,  the feedback, from the students has given me an incredible boost. I’ve shared some below.

After I’d  covered her class for 30 minutes–while her teacher was in a meeting–a 2nd-grader wrote me a note:

“Thank you for being the best sub ever. “

A middle schooler said to me (30 seconds into a conversation):

“What?!? You’ve read the book ‘Jurassic Park?’ I’m already your biggest fan, ever!”

A 5th-grader walked up to my desk on his way to his next class, and offered:

“You’re a good sub., but you need to be more strict.”

A high school junior wrote this:

“Dear Mr. Smith, I’d love to thank you for subbing in my class. We may be wild, but we mean well. You’re a great and funny man. I like the way you say ‘ya’ll.’ It reminds me of a cowboy movie. “

These are among the best performance reviews I’ve ever had.

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