How bad is being a sub???

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by coffee crazy, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Lysander

    Lysander Companion

    Aug 10, 2007
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    Jul 27, 2008

    When I graduated, I subbed for a year and a half before getting a full time teaching position. Yes, the pay is lousy, and there are no benefits (usually). But it was very rewarding. As a certified teacher, you certainly have a leg up on other subs out there (my school often gets semi-warm bodies to sub). If you establish yourself as a teacher, rather than a glorified babysitter, it will help. I subbed in only a few schools since the need was high, and got known among the students in those schools as Sargeant Sub. They knew I was there to teach, but we could also have fun if they did things my way! ;) One BIG suggestion...have a bag of tricks with you (literally...a bag with emergency lesson plans). I subbed in schools where the teacher left no plans at all. In my very first sub job, the teacher left plans for a 50 minute lesson that simply said, "Apple cutouts." I'm sure the teacher had a multisensory, interdisciplinary, hands on, motivating activity planned -- in her head. All I saw as a sub was "apple cutouts." So we cut out the cardstock apples on the teacher's desk. OK, now what do we do for the other 45 minutes of the lesson? I ended up reading from the class chapter book. I then brought in my own things that I could use as time fillers or lessons. The book The Lorax (Dr. Seuss) can be used as a simple read aloud for younger students, or as a writing/discussion starter for older students on the ethics of logging/conservation. Brain teasers and logic puzzles were good too.
    Good Luck!
  2. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

    May 18, 2007
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    Jul 27, 2008

    ditto on the bag of tricks...

    Think Ms. Frizzle and Magic School Bus meets The Cat In The Hat.

    Once I was asked to sub for the music teacher, primary grades. Uh, that can't be hard. :rolleyes: They told me she has a cart and cd player; just follow along in her notes.

    So I showed up, and sure enough there was a cart with books, a cd player, and a few bells, triangles, etc. So I went to kdg, 1st and 2nd, and read the lesson, played the CDs, and sang purposely off key. It was fun. Kdg got a bit restless, so I grabbed a book and read to make up for time. I pushed my cart down the hall, going from room to room. At the end of the day, I pushed it back in the office.

    Then, they called again, and asked if I would be music teacher for intermediate. Ugh... hormones. Ok, I'll do it.

    I get there, and say, "Oh, where is the cart."

    She doesn't have a cart.


    "Does she have a lesson plan book?"

    No. You just go from room to room, you are good, you'll think of something!


    So I head off upstairs to no-man's/no-woman's land... 5-8th grade subbing without a plan. I go into the rooms, and they are wild as can be. I settle them down, and I read to 5th grade. They are okay with that.

    Then I get to 6th, and it is really crazy. I spend 15 minutes settling them down. I see a face in the crowd. "Hey! Isn't your name Ben?" He looks away, "I don't know you lady!" I look at his name, handwritten in cursive on his desk. Benjamin Gonzales

    "You are Ben! Don't you remember me? I was your aide in 1st grade at ABC school!" He looks away, the guys start teasing him. She know you, ha ha!

    So, now, I have everyone's attention, and they quiet down. I say..

    "When I started working in Ben's class, he had just moved here from Mexico. He could not speak any English. Remember?"

    He looks around.. :unsure: "And wow, you are doing very well, I can see! I knew that you would!!" I saw some of your work in the hall! (I did look at their work, as I often do.)

    I say, "Once we went on a field trip to the farm, and when we came back, the teacher asked the class about what they had seen. A few kids said cows, and she wrote 'cow' on the board. "What colors were the cows?", the teacher asked. The other kids yelled out, black, brown, and Ben was so excited, he recognized the color words."

    "And you raised your hand, and when she called on you, you said "Orange!"

    Oh, this class was falling on the floor laughing about that!

    You looked at me, and I said, "Vaca, Ben...Que color de vaca?"

    Immediately, you realized she was talking about the cows. You were so upset at yourself. I felt bad too, because she never bothered to tell you.

    He smiled..

    Then, I told the class, Yes, I am the sub...and so let's have music time. Each student had to stand up and sing their favorite song, rap, or something they made up, but it had to be clean.

    The morale of this story? Be prepared for anything. And when you are on stage, and don't have any lines... you gotta wing it like crazy. Once you have their attention, they will listen to whatever you say. Don't depend, expect or rely on what the teacher is supposed to have. Make sure you always have something for every grade level.
  3. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

    May 13, 2004
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    Jul 28, 2008

    Regarding the student behavior & not knowing procedures aspects, it can be very tough because there's just something about a new face in the room that completely changes students' behavior. Even the generally well-behaved kid may goof off & be a total pain.

    But just remeber, you're only there for one day, maybe two, so just make the best of it & get through the day as best as possible. Always leave a note to the teacher letting him/her know how the day went, who misbehaved, etc.
  4. K-5Sub

    K-5Sub Rookie

    Aug 23, 2008
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    Aug 23, 2008

    How much do you love kids?

    Subbing is all in your mind. Go in there with confidence! Walk in there like you have been doing this all your life! (they smell the fear:lol:) Do you have a friend that is teaching in the school/district you are going to sub in? Ask to sit in his/her room, ask his or her school if you can observe other classrooms (yes on your own free time). These teachers will see you around and see your effort and will start calling you, and people talk and when you least expect it you might hear of an opening somewhere, or get called. Good luck, keep your chin up! I think all kids can learn and I feel that if I'm patient enough I will reach someone, somehow, even subbing.

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