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"Happy to Help" at Old Richmond Elementary

Old 45By Leah Crowley

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education

SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 – When I got a phone call from fellow board member, Deanna Kaplan, about substitute teaching at Old Richmond for a day or two, I was excited to accept. The school was really in a bind with several teachers out, so I was happy to help.

I was assigned to a second-grade class. It didn’t take long to realize a lot gets packed into the day and there is so much reading, vocabulary, grammar, math, science, and social studies to cover!

The technology part was the hardest for me to navigate. Thank goodness for teachers who were generous with help and students who were more intuitive with technology than me!

The lesson plans were so helpful and really guide the whole day. My favorite part was recess - seeing the students physically active, being loud, and having fun was a real reward after doing so much classroom work.

When the principal asked if I could help the remainder of the week, I couldn’t say no. It was such a great class with so many sweet children.

The students’ wide range of competency was my biggest challenge. It was a struggle for me to manage keeping children engaged and learning more while also trying to work with the ones who needed extra instruction. There is a need for teacher assistants in elementary classrooms, especially at the grade levels where children are learning to read.

I’m thankful for the students who let me know their usual routine and what was “normal” - which was surprising that early in the school year. I hope I didn’t create any bad habits that their regular teacher had to undo upon her return!