Betty's Blog

Timely Teacher Talk


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Ouch! It is not easy to be a substitute teacher!

I can't believe that it has been so long since I have posted!  There have been a lot of life changes for me, but I think I am back and organized.  I am completely retired now.  I no longer substitute or teach adults.  My life is now more about taking care of my disabled husband, but I still hang out with my grandsons and am returning to writing.

The amusing thing for me is that now I can pretty much say what I want to say without repercussions.  I have tossed all of my p's and q's out the window. 

My first topic is how very very hard it is to substitute teach.  It is much easier to have a regular job where you know the routines and the kids.  There were numerous times when I felt like Lowly Worm.  Sitting in the teachers' workroom for lunch was usually a time of isolation.  Teachers come in and sit with their friends.  Sure, a nod or smile occasionally came my way, but for the most part, I felt like I was excluded from the group.

Now I can just hear some subs going, "Oh, that never happens to me.  It was all her fault for not taking the initiative."  Wrong!  I am a very social being.  I talk to strangers in Walmart for Pete's sake. 

Also, walking into a classroom full of kids and trying to figure out lesson plans is not easy.   Computers all work differently, and sometimes the plans just aren't there. 

A sub folder full of easy, practice work is the best way to go.  Include creative ways to keep the kids busy and on task.  Yes, I said it outloud.  I am not talking about a long term sub.  I'm referring to the sub who comes in for one or two days.  Kids don't get enough practice, so why not make an absent day practice day?  Give the sub grading keys, and you will return to graded papers and good behavior notes. 



Posted: Tuesday, October 25, 2011 2:49 PM by Betty

Pat said:

As head of the dept. I would always greet any sub in my department, unlock the classroom door (I had a master key), and make sure they had everything they needed. I would then invite them to join my group of friends for lunch. This was a good way to get to know the subs and see which ones I would want to have in my own class when I was absent. I would be able to get contact information too. Many times I would end up hiring a sub as a paraprofessional when an opening came up.

# October 26, 2011 5:03 AM

John at TestSoup said:

No doubt, substitute teaching is hard!

My mom was a teacher before she had kids.  Then she left the profession to help raise my brother and me.  Once we got old enough for some time away from her, she went back to teaching, but only in a substitute capacity because she wanted to be able to say no if we needed her attention at home.

Often times she would get calls late at night or early in the morning -- talk about NO time for prep!  Then she was expected to just waltz on in and make kids respect her, listen to her, and learn something.

I have nothing but respect for substitute teachers.

# October 26, 2011 12:12 PM

Betty said:

Pat, I never had that happen even though I was on several preferred lists and had teachers asking for me. I was able to do a pretty good job winging it since I had taught for so long.  I always had a smile and never complained.  I think that teachers mostly just considered lunch their fun time and wanted to visit with their friends. Maybe I'm just too social.:)


I think that subs face more criticism than praise and it's just not fair.  It is much harder to get the kids' respect as a sub than as a regular teacher.  Even classroom teachers who have trouble with discipline themselves talk about "good" and "bad" subs.  

# October 28, 2011 11:37 AM
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