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Substitute Teacher

It’s 10 p.m. I just finished dinner and killed a gigantic spider, breaking a glass in the process. I desperately need to shower. I thought my morning client was at 10 and our appointment was actually at 9. I subbed a yoga class tonight and two girls got up and left before class even started. Just setting the scene for you. We ALL have these days.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever really “have it together.” I tried for a long time to paint that picture but I constantly feel like I’m one step behind. It’s most definitely not all together.

I received a last minute request this afternoon to sub a yoga class tonight. I agreed…I actually taught this Wednesday night class for a long time before giving it up several months ago so it’s always a weird mix of emotions to go back and teach it as a sub. I was reminded tonight how hard it is to be a substitute teacher.

People come to yoga classes with expectations and bring with them everything that they are carrying physically and mentally. It can be an added mental challenge when the teacher you came for is not teaching because you come for a certain experience. I had two girls leave my class tonight before I even started teaching because I was not a certain teacher. That kind of sucks.

I am the first to say that I’m guilty of only attending certain classes at certain times that work with my schedule and promise the experience that I need. That being said, one of the ways that I have grown the most in my yoga is when I take different teachers classes and workshops and when I travel and practice at new studios. But speaking as a teacher myself, I have to say that it hurts when you’re not even given a chance.

Moral of the story: be nice to substitute teachers. Be open minded. Be accepting of new experiences and open to growth.

I’ve made cooking a priority lately. It’s one of my favorite ways to unwind and de-stress. Last night I made sauteed eggplant with mozzarella cheese and red sauce along with garlic gnocchi.

And tonight a parmesan and panko crusted chicken with brussels sprouts.

It’s time for that shower now.

{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Alex October 24, 2012, 10:31 pm

    Hi Jen,

    While I have been a long time reader of your blog, I have never commented. While I have always adored your blog, and found it motivating and inspiring, I have to say that in the last month I have come to like it even more. Your honesty about struggles, and days where you have ups and downs make your blog even more relatable (as well as still being inspiring!) and I have really looked forward to reading it. Thanks for what you do!

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 10:38 am

      hey alex – thank you so much for reading and for the encouraging words. it is really difficult for me to open up publicly and i’ve appreciated the support that i have received recently.

      • Nicole October 26, 2012, 9:22 am

        Big hugs! I just want to say – I agree with Alex!

  • Katy October 24, 2012, 10:35 pm

    Can you share those recipes???? They look delicious!!!

    And so funny you say that because the last two days have stunk for me at work too. A friend told me something her dad used to say that made me laugh and is also so true: “some days the bear eats you. And some days you eat the bear. As long as the days where you eat him outnumber the days where he eats you….you are doing just fine”

    You def eat the bear more often judging from your blog. Cheer up!

  • Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin October 24, 2012, 10:37 pm

    I’m sorry about the teaching tonight – I actually like when substitute teachers come to the studio I go to because it’s always a new and exciting experience. Sometimes, I don’t love the way they teach and that’s okay. But other times I actually leave thinking it was one of the best classes I’ve ever been in. Wish I lived in NC and could take a class from you 🙂

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 10:46 am

      i agree that the experience is always different and not always exactly what you were hoping for but you’ll never know until you try! 🙂 wish you were here too!

  • LeAnne October 24, 2012, 10:51 pm

    Thanks for posting, Jen…we definitely all have days like these. Lately I’ve just been kind of ‘going through the motions’ myself not really sure what the heck I’m supposed to do everyday..ha! Sleep well tonight..tomorrow will be better!

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 10:47 am

      i did sleep so well last night and i’m feeling much better today. hope you start to get back to normal soon.

  • Pamela October 24, 2012, 10:51 pm

    Those girls missed out big time!!!

  • Sandra October 24, 2012, 11:38 pm

    Boo to the two girls who left your class! Sorry to hear that.

    Your opening reminded me of another blog I read just before coming over here. I really enjoyed reading this post because it reminds us that we’re all human, and we are all perfectly imperfect:

    Anyhow, You Are AMAZING! Love coming here and seeing what your thoughts and experiences for the day are, and of course, must not forget… the food… mouth is watering or more accurately drooling over the first dish. Hope you’re having a great night! 🙂

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:11 am

      haha – just read that post. it was great. thanks for sharing.

  • Nicole October 25, 2012, 12:48 am

    For what it’s worth, I came to class today BECAUSE you were subbing! Those girls missed a great class.

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:11 am

      thank you. it was so wonderful to see you. xoxoxo

  • Jaclyn October 25, 2012, 2:26 am

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience tonight. I have to admit that I, too have been in the mindset in the past of only wanting to take from that teacher, that class.. but some of my yoga practices that were form unexpected teachers have been really great.

    I think maybe those two girls who left class could have used the yoga tonight the most. That is pretty closed minded and I’m sorry it hurt your feeligs. I think you should think about all the people who came to class who TOOK your class *i’m sure was more than two that really benefitted from it, rather than the two that wanted to go home, eat dinner, be with their kids, whaver

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:13 am

      hey jaclyn – i definitely did let it go after it happened because i did know that it wasn’t about me…it was whatever was going on with them and i couldn’t control that. i was so happy to be there with the students that i did have in class. they were beautiful.

      • Jaclyn October 26, 2012, 5:09 am

        yeah I definitely think you helped a lot of people with the class, so good for you for being there, doing that even though it was an “off” night <3

  • Pam October 25, 2012, 7:26 am

    I wish I lived in Charlotte! I would love to attend your class! Yoga is all about connecting, to the new, the unknown, trying to find calm and peace, those girls missed a growth opportunity!
    I want that egg plant recipe and what is gnocchi?

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:16 am

      hey pam – i really didn’t use a recipe for the eggplant. i just sprinkled it with a Tuscan seasoning and salt and sauteed it in olive oil on both sides. I finished it in the oven under the broiler to melt the cheese and then topped it with marinara sauce.

      Gnocchi are little dumplings that can be made from a variety of sources – potatoes, flour, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnocchi

  • Holly October 25, 2012, 8:29 am

    Keep in mind those girls left but it has nothing to do with you. They didn’t know what they were missing!

    It’s been a rough week over here too. Sigh.

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:17 am

      i know, i did try not to take it personally and just move on.

      chin up. almost friday. sending you positive energy. xo

  • Grace @ Practicing Grace October 25, 2012, 8:53 am

    You’re so strong. And we alllll have those days. Bad events seem to come in multiples, but it’s done. And clear skies for a bit. I’m so nervous for when I start teacher training

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:18 am

      don’t be nervous…it was a transformational experience. you are so lucky for the opportunity to do it!

  • Mary October 25, 2012, 8:54 am

    Or maybe those two girls had a rough day/week and one looked at the other and said “let’s get a beer instead.”

    • Lauren October 25, 2012, 10:32 am

      Right, you never really know. I’d sort of hate to think that if I left a class for any reason at any time, that the teacher would be “questioning” my motives. Perhaps it goes both ways? This of course isn’t to say you should not have felt the way you did. Can’t help your emotions.

      • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:20 am

        mary – i can only hope!

        lauren – i ALWAYS tell my students to come and go as they need…arrive late, leave early…i know people have a lot going on and i want them to fit in as much yoga as they can/need. it’s a little bit of a different story when the two came in together, sat whispering and staring at me and then left when i was starting class. 😉

  • Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes October 25, 2012, 9:04 am

    Sorry you had a tough day, Jen. I hope the eggplant turned things around–it looks delicious!

  • Alice October 25, 2012, 9:38 am

    You may not feel like you have it all together – but you know what? That’s part of what makes following you so freakin’ inspiring!!! Because you have sooo much going on, it’s nice to see your honesty. Sometimes it’s just refreshing to know that I’m not the only one who feels like a duck – paddling like hell under the water, but appearing smooth as glass on the surface!

    I’m sorry the girls left last night. but am thinking, maybe one of them needed some talk time, and knew that she couldn’t have it in class, so suggested they move on. That doesn’t change that it hurt your feelings – just trying to put another spin on it.

    FWIW, when I heard you were subbing, I was decided I would to try to make it. Alas, the kids / family conspired against me… hopefully next time!

    Here’s to a better day today!

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:21 am

      aw, thanks so much alice. i appreciate you thinking about me and trying to make it to class.

      you are NOT the only one frantically paddling to stay afloat. 🙂

  • Julia October 25, 2012, 9:45 am

    I attend yoga classes at the studio you subbed at last night, and when I saw on their Facebook page that you’d be subbing I tried to find a way to be there, but it just didn’t work with my schedule. Hopefully next time! Those girls certainly missed out. Hoping for a better day for you today!

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:22 am

      oh, thank you so much julia. hope to see you soon.

  • Runner Dad October 25, 2012, 9:53 am

    Dinner looks great, and I know what you mean, sometimes I’m so all over the place it’s hard to function.

  • Miki October 25, 2012, 10:25 am

    Days like these make us appreciate the good ones even more! You are an extremely talented yoga teacher and I definitely would have come to that class had I known you were subbing. Your meals look delicious, as always.

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:22 am

      thanks miki. so good to hear from you!

  • Ying October 25, 2012, 11:11 am

    Hi Jen, thanks for this post; you would never have guessed how many times I have wondered whether I have it all together today and wondered if I would catch a break! It’s vexing and hurtful and I really want to hope that there will be better days! I guess a good rest is needed to gather ourselves to face the coming days with strength and grace!

    • Jen October 25, 2012, 11:23 am

      there are always better days! you just have to believe in the ups and downs and enjoy the up times when they’re happening and don’t dwell on the downs. they will pass!

  • Mandy October 25, 2012, 11:39 am

    Oh my goodness, that Eggplant looks heavenly.

    There’s no perfect way to be or feel. It seems like you know the healthy ways to deal with the not so great feelings we all get, and that’s all you can do because you can’t stop them completely! I really love reading your blog and you are very inspiring, more so because of the not easy moments! 🙂

  • Tara October 25, 2012, 12:50 pm

    As a fellow group fitness instructor, I completely understand the feeling of not being given a chance. You are right, we all have days like this, and it will get better 🙂 You meals look delicious, so it looks like making cooking a priority has been paying off! Keep plugging though!! 🙂

  • carolyn October 25, 2012, 2:05 pm

    HI Jen,

    I need your advice. I will be moving soon and looking to join a new gym. I absolutely LOVE body pump (have been doing it for 4 years) but have heard so many great things about crossfit. Since you have a wealth of experience in both classes, which is better? I know they are very different (BP is more reps, CF is higher weight) among other things. I cant afford to join a regular gym that holds BP, and a crossfit studio, so I must pick one. Just as a background I am an avid marathon runner and I like to lift 2-3 days per week. 🙂 Thoughts?!

  • Katie @ running4cupcakes October 25, 2012, 2:46 pm

    I totally understand where you are coming from about subbing… I wish people would think outside of themselves when thinking about walking out of a class… I mean, you came for a class, so stay!

  • Kacy Pleasants October 25, 2012, 3:07 pm

    They may have left bc the heard you were a butt kicker!

  • Irina October 25, 2012, 6:11 pm

    Hi Jen – I have been reading for a while but never commented… thank you for your post – although I never ever left a yoga class at seeing a substitute, I have sometimes made a face because I did not see the teacher I was hoping to get and I will make more effort to be open minded!!! that said, I am so sorry you had a bad day, I really hope that the “energy” reset itself and you are having a much better day today. Forgive yourself for not being all put together all the time, you are actually more together than I am on a given day 🙂 and I think I am pretty organized! It is tiring to be together all the time and may be it is the universe’s way of telling us to not take things too seriously. I am sending you positive thoughts and hope you are feeling a lot better, especially after reading all the comments :). You are a great blogger and one of the most energetic people I have ever “read”, you are inspiring and it is good to know that on some days you are also human 🙂
    P.S. I am deadly afraid of any insects alive or dead, and have been known for dropping phone books on spiders and leaving them there for days till my mother can arrive (from another country) and clean them up. You are my hero for taking care of one yourself.

  • erin October 25, 2012, 9:47 pm

    This is a good reminder that the teacher may need the energy and support of the class as much as the students do on a particular day or in a particular moment. Thanks for the perspective!

  • Amy October 26, 2012, 3:12 pm

    I would be ecstatic if I walked in and you were subbing a class! I don’t get to take a lot of the instructors I love (you included) because I stick with the karma classes. Those girls definitely missed out.

  • Nicole October 27, 2012, 1:03 pm

    That is so rude those people left! I will say I am usually disappointed when there is a sub but I always go into it with an open mind. I definitely agree with you that your practice only grows from new teachers. I recently experienced a not so great yoga teacher but I still learned valuable things about certain poses. BTW I love spaghetti squash so if you have a super easy fool proof way to cook it I’d love to know!

  • Elizabeth November 8, 2012, 1:50 pm

    I am SO inspired by how much you cook! It’s so much easier to pick things up on the way home, but so much healthier to cook! I love how you challenge yourself to use what’s in the pantry/fridge. I have started (inspired by you) to challenge myself to do the same.

    Also, I just wanted to send you an e-hug. You have seemed like you have been needing one lately. Know that you have tons of love out there and have inspired many many people. 🙂 (hug)

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