While scouring Google Scholar for literature on substitute teaching, it occurred to me that there was really only one experience difference (psychologically) between substitute teachers and permanent teachers. It is not a small difference. Paradoxically, it is something both kinds of educators have in common. Some analogies come to mind. If you've been in the military, then you could begin to imagine what this illustration tries to convey. So begin to envision this: Your first day at Boot Camp. Up early in the morning, you don't know what you're supposed to do next, you have drill sergeants and civilians almost literally pushing you through one station after another; you pick up clothes here, you get a haircut there, you pick up gear at another place, you get yelled at for dozing off during an underwhelming digital slide presentation, you fill out reams of redundant paper work, you get yelled at for not staying focused, and not only that, but--as Yul Brynner famously said in The King and I--"...et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." You get to the end of the day and you crash hard in your bunk. You wake up the next day in civilian clothes, with your hair as it was before. Drill sergeants come in, but you recognize none of them. Not one! You think, wha-who-huh? And you don't remember where anything is. None of the recruits are familiar to you. Yeah. Imagine waking up to your first day of Basic Training over and over and over again with different people each time. Sorry if that assaulted the beach heads of your sense of sanity. At least in 50 First Dates, there was video to help the girl remember the previous days with the boy, so it's not quite as good an analogy as I first thought. How about being a temp at different jobs every day, in areas of expertise that you may know very little about? That would be epically stressful, to put it mildly. Let's get back to what substitute educators and permanent teachers go through in common: The first day at work as a newbie teacher. Imagine you both have the same level of education, training, and experience. You both go into your own classes, meet the kids, start getting to know their names, you practice keeping your cool doing classroom management, you face interruptions, you begin adjusting to new curricula, to the school’s personality (a.k.a., getting through school culture shock) and even, occasionally, you get some teaching in. The permanent teacher goes through this and, at the end of the day, can think that tomorrow will be better, and that so will the day after that as you build social capital with your peers and establish authority and gain respect and influence with your young scholars. The supply teacher, on the other hand, has to do the same thing all over again tomorrow at another school. And the day after that at yet another school. And the day after that. Every once in a while, subs gets lucky and they get an assignment for two or even three weeks in a row with the same group of kids. But then the run is done and it’s déjà vu all over again. "Good morning, class. My name is Mr. A." Of all the people in the world, permanent teachers should have the greatest degree of sympathy for subs. For a sub, there’s the rub. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences with permanent teachers who have given me lesson plans, kept in contact with me throughout the day and the week, administrators who have been observant enough to see that I’d make a great asset on their team and kids who have been respectful and cooperative. But then there are other times. Still, you get the picture. The vast majority of documents that came up in my search are about teachers who have permanent posts. There are scads of documents talking about teacher absenteeism and teacher attrition. It got me to thinking: The problem is not being a substitute teacher per se, but rather being new. And, as the kids would say it, being new, but, like, every day.