Monday, December 21, 2009

Razzle Dazzle Them and They'll Make You a Star

Well, it's officially Christmas Vacation (or whatever we're calling it these days) and I've worked exactly four days in the month of December. This is due in large part to my picking up everything that little Irving Snotpockets and Ginny Germcarrier have shared with me. It's also due to the fact that I'm a new subsititue.

It's hard being a new sub. Nobody knows you and nobody trusts you. In order to prove yourself, you have to prove yourself, and you can't do that unless you actually get into a classroom. I've heard many teachers simply will not call an unfamiliar substitute to work in their room because they've had bad experiences. And granted, some of the stories I've heard are pretty bad, from teachers who avoid the lesson plan completely (what in the world do they do all day?) to teachers who actually leave campus and leave the kids alone. And I'm guessing that nowadays because of the economic situation, there are a lot of people who sign up to be subs thinking it's an easy gig. Sadly, these people make it more difficult for those of us who worked our tails off to earn the credentials to be in a classroom and want to make a career of it.

I got my best feedback from a teacher who was in and out of his classroom while I was subbing for him and saw me in action. The two third-grade classes traded for an hour in the afternoon as one teacher did Science and the other did Social Studies. The man I was subbing for told me later that the other class's teacher poked his head in while I was with his unruly class(I didn't even see him) and remarked, "She's good!" Never had I felt so validated.

I often wonder what type of feedback kids give about me the next day and how it's related to their behavior. I've had days where the kids are so out of line I end up yelling at them just to be heard over their noise. I've had other days where I just get through the lesson plan and don't do anything special that they'd remember. Am I "the mean teacher?" Am I "the nice teacher?"

Who am I?


  1. I'm glad I found your blog. I am a brand new substitute K-6 teacher from Australia. It is difficult trying to establish yourself in schools. I put my name down at eight different schools in September this year and so far, three have offered me work. I look forward to your future posts.

  2. Thanks eyesthisway! I'm excited to have a reader! I'm looking at your blog as well.

  3. I've been subbing since March (and blogging about it since September), and I wonder what the students say about me as well. I get called back, so the reports must not be too bad. I find that I'm not sure what type of sub I am sometimes; it depends on the class, and how I respond to them.

    When I used to be an assistant, I'd cringe when subs would lose their cool because then they'd lose the students, and I vowed never to be that type of teacher. But I also vowed never to be a sub, so go figure.