Subbing hard on the nerves? Too inconsistent

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Greetwlove, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    :wub: There are days I love subbing, but there are days I just dread it. Of course it has been difficult on my quest to seek a regular teaching job (I know I'm not the only one), but the idea of walking into a different classroom everyday and not knowing where one will be sent next can be kind of unnerving for me. Also, a diagnostician told me today "You know they are cutting jobs in this district don't you?" Because of all of this, I seek consistency and am looking at entering a different field...not to mention I see all the stress that is heaped upon teachers these days. (also, wondering what on earth is going to happen to me come summertime) :2cents: I just wonder if anyone here has any similar feelings. Thanks.:help:
     
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  3. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    The few times I tried it, I absolutely *hated* subbing. It was far too inconsistent and stressful for me. I never had any big issues or anything, and the days when ok, but I just couldn't stand it. Before I got my teaching job, I worked as a para. It had the consistency I craved, and I was much happier in that type of position. I really have immense respect for subs because my brief experience with subbing taught me how hard and thankless that job is.
     
  4. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    :thumb: You're speakin' my language. Helps to know I'm not alone in this feeling. When people ask "So, how do you like subbing". I'm like....meh.
     
  5. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    It's really a feeling of

    being on the "outside looking in":dizzy:
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I hated subbing with the passion of a thousand burning suns. If I had to choose between subbing and flipping burgers at McDonald's, I'll take burger flipping in a second. The district I subbed in (inner city) made things worse... if I had been subbing more in a suburb (I did three days in the suburban district I student taught in...) I would have liked it, but every other sub wanted to sub in that district, too.

    About a month after I started subbing, I got a job as a full time homebound tutor. I never looked back.
     
  7. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I cherish the opportunity to see the varying diversity, methods of teaching, and classroom styles, as well as the opportunity to work with many teachers closely that I sub for quite a few times. However, especially with my anxiety/confidence issues, having a new classroom with a new set of things to teach each day (i.e. every day is an unknown) is difficult.

    You aren't alone by any means, and are likely in the vast majority. That is why there are so few great subs :)
     
  8. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    gr3 - Yes, flipping burgers at times looks tempting...more respect? We are the Rodney Dangerfields of education. Ha!

    mathmagic - There is the upside of experiencing different teaching methods...one can always learn from that.
     
  9. CrayolaCrayon

    CrayolaCrayon Companion

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    Absolutely. I have moments where I am miserable as a substitute. I like consistency and planning, so I have a hard time with not knowing what my day will look like. For that reason, I tend to avoid last-minute calls. It makes things worse.
     
  10. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I subbed for a few months when I graduated from the university. It was fine, I had good days and tough days. But because I was so new, I was just soaking everything in. Then after three months or so, I landed a teaching job. After about four years of teaching, I was pink slipped and from August to November I was working for the district as a CELDT tester and then shortly as a sub before I started my new job as a math clinician. During the time I was subbing, even though I had a few years of experience under my belt, I WAS A WRECK!!!! I realized I couldn't handle it. I became way too type A, needed consistency and a routine.

    When my husband and I moved to a new town for his job, I was adamant that I would not sub. I landed a para job for an afterschool program, worked for a software company, and tutored. Took about 3 years but I FINALLY just recently landed a teaching job for a private school. :)
     
  11. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    I hated subbing with a purple passion! I did not do well with the lack of consistency. I subbed for a total of four months last spring, after graduating with a degree in Elementary Ed. and getting my credential.

    I thought that I would have to sub, once it became clear that I was not going to get a permanent teaching position. Everyone had told me that subbing would get my foot in the door and get me noticed by the principals. But subbing in the districts I was working in did not give you an "in", since subs couldn't apply as internal applicants for the open teaching positions. And even after subbing in a school many times, the principals had no idea who I was.

    I ended up taking a part-time para position and have never regretted the decision. I can apply as an internal applicant for open positions in my district (which I fully plan on doing as the hiring season gets under way). I have the same hours, in the same class, every week. My principal knows my name.

    My hat is off to whoever can deal with being a substitute teacher. It is very difficult. I sure couldn't do it.
    Sheilah
     
  12. Nate

    Nate Companion

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    I enjoyed subbing, but at the time I didn't NEED the money, so I could pick and choose my jobs and didn't have to go in every day. And I did get hired into my current job (going on 11 years now) based on having subbed in the district. It was hard to find jobs 11 years ago, but I imagine it's even worse now.
     
  13. bora

    bora Rookie

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    I have good and bad days. It 's very challenging , but I like it.
     
  14. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I've always been told it takes a brave person to sub (and do it well). I did really enjoy it for awhile. But those days are over for me.
     
  15. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    I love the "who are you subbing for" and I sub so much and am called back so much I forget the name of the person I'm subbing for....so I'm going...ugh, ugh...
     
  16. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    I do it a couple of days a year. If you have experience teaching full-time, it's easy. Once you tell them you're a certified teacher with xxx number of years under your belt, they will take you seriously.

    Sub in classes and grades you are comfortable with.

    Dress Professionally. Act like a professional. And you might get noticed.
    The cream always rises to the top ;)
     
  17. AlexaD

    AlexaD Companion

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    I subbed last year for half a year. There were good moments and not so good moments. The lack of consistency was hard for me too. It was hard not knowing where you were going to be day after day, although one school had me in a lot so it got to be a bit better once that started happening.
     
  18. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    The problem is the line that is typically perpetuated by teachers themselves, when it comes to subs. True, there are dregs in the sub pool. But there is a line that teachers actively try to draw, when it comes to themselves (above) and subs (below, i.e. the root word: sub-). I think that is highlighted in the way people here (teachers presumably) are responding to this thread.

    Even from the comments here, I think the anxiety is as much the fact that they "aren't teachers" as the job itself. Because (in suburban areas and up at least), subbing is a piece of cake TBH. And I agree (above), that subbing really gives some good perspective (e.g. see what other teachers do) for those looking for it.

    The job dissatisfaction is all tied to pay. If subs were respected more in pay (i.e. salary, insurance, etc.), I'm certain that job satisfaction would skyrocket. It's not the job itself that is hard, because it really isn't.
     
  19. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I'm convinced I'd be a horrible sub- and I'd consider myself to be a pretty good teacher. The inconsistency, lack of control, and generally not knowing anything about a situation before you walk in the door every day would drive me insane. I subbed a couple of times as a student teacher in true emergency situations. I got SO sick of hearing, "That's not how Mrs. __________ does it..." and the plans that were left often didn't make sense and it was very stressful figuring out where supplies were, what the teacher actually wanted me to do, etc. I can't imagine being in an unfamiliar school where you don't know any of the teachers or where anything is (specials rooms, bathrooms, etc.) on top of that. Not to mention sometimes not even knowing the night before if you have a job the next day or where the job will be. I am too "type A" for that type of situation. Other than the lack of work outside of contract hours, I honestly think subbing would be harder than "regular" teaching.
     
  20. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Yes! And people who have never subbed do not get it! I hear teachers bashing subs for the littlest things! "Oh, she collected this paper instead of sending it home." Is that really a hill to die on? Maybe the plans weren't clear, maybe she was dealing with something else going on. It's not easy to step into someone's shoes at a moments notice. And some teachers have no clue what kind of information subs need to be able to do their jobs properly.
     
  21. Julie27

    Julie27 Rookie

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    ...and I got blamed one time (the complaint sent to the district) in going through the warm-up too fast and not going through the lesson material too deep. How did the teacher know if he were not there? How deep did he wanted me (the sub) to go through the material? This complain made me laugh.
     
  22. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I liked subbing more often than not, otherwise, I sure wouldn't have subbed the good 11 years that I did. It's definitely paid the bills for sure!

    However, there was NEVER ever one school I've ever subbed at that I wish I was working at permanently & I've subbed for 3-4 districts (for a good 11 yrs like I said).
     
  23. msmac21

    msmac21 Companion

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  24. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    Amen Heather!:thumb:
     
  25. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    Would that you could "read their minds" Julie :)
     
  26. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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  27. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    Glad you found a long term you like gr3teacher. So many witty posters, I can tell we have some great teachers (subs) on here
     
  28. Greetwlove

    Greetwlove Rookie

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    :dizzy: Yes, most schools show the horrible underbelly of day to day teaching :whistle:
     
  29. More2Learn

    More2Learn New Member

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    I just started subbing last month and have 6 assignments under my belt. I find it to be very nerve wracking work. I wake up frequently the night before an assignment. I notice a nervous knot in my stomach. And I'm typically not prone to nervousness. Yet I've learned that great achievers feed off of the feeling of discomfort. So I welcome it, along with the awesome challenges of this job. Subbing is not for the faint of heart.

    My fears involve the many uncertainties. Will the sub plan be detailed enough? Will it be easy to follow and appropriate? Will there even be one? How challenging will the kids be to manage? How will I handle the limit pushers? What will I do if confronted with brazen disrespect or defiance? What will I do if I run out things to do? What if a group of them team up against me? What if they try to prank me? How will the administration judge me? How will I find my way around?

    I suppose many of these fears will mellow out with experience. Though I think that many of them are part and parcel of the position. I still remember a 6th grade class where a series of pranks caused the substitute teacher to have an emotional breakdown. I know what kids are capable of.

    With certainty each classroom has a contingency of kids will see what they can get away with. Kids do ask what your limits are. They test them and learn by how you react. A sub will be faced with defiance and disrespect far beyond if their teacher was there. It comes at varying levels from not giving attention to brazenly refusing to follow your directions or trying to make the sub look stupid to show off for their friends. It takes great skill and practice to manage these behaviors deftly and appropriately. It is further complicated by the fact that the sub has not established any relationship or rapport with the students to assist in managing and understanding these behaviors.

    What I've learned thus far is that first impressions are absolutely key. It is imperative to set the tone from the get-go, and to establish behavioral expectations. It is important to win them over, so that they want to behave well. Keeping a fast pace keeps minimizes opportunity for things to get away. Managing transitions smoothy is always a challenge. As soon as students begin any inkling of disrespectful behavior, it must immediately be nipped in the bud, or it will assuredly escalate into a greater problem.

    On my first day, I went to an inner city school where there was no sub plan. The other teachers couldn't be bothered to assist. It was total chaos. I fumbled through the day without a clue of what I was supposed to do. I did a miserable job of managing the behavior. A fist fight broke out in the 3rd grade class, which is standard fare at this school. The only way I was able to get them to listen was raising my voice, and threatening behavioral marks or being sent to the principal. I knew there had to be a better way. Plus, there were some students that didn't care; they were already failing and well known by the principal and had already given up.

    I almost never came back, and wondered how many subs are "one and done". No wonder the hiring process was basically a cattle call with no interview and minimal training. They basically throw us to the wolves, and it's sink or swim. Darwinism at it's finest. This is why I have respect for any sub that has managed to stay in the profession for more than a few assignments. It takes strength and resilience.

    It is remarkable to me how challenging substitute teaching truly is. It takes incredible leadership skills. I am coming to teaching after an unrewarding yet quite successful insurance claims career in which I was a highly effective manager and staff developer. Stepping into elementary school classrooms has given me a whole new perspective on what it is to be a leader and manager. The kids are relentless in their vetting of your abilities. This is much more difficult than I thought it would be.

    What makes it more challenging for me is that I'm striving to develop the skill of a shaping behavior through systematic use of positive reinforcement strategies. It is so easy to resort to nagging, badgering, threatening and punishing the students into submission. I'm a 6 foot 200 pound man and can be imposing to elementary kids if I stoop to that. But that is simply horrible leadership, hurtful to the kids, and lazy.

    Subbing thus far has been great in so many ways. I've gotten to see several different schools, classrooms, and grades. I've worked with kids from the inner city and upper class kids. I've worked alongside a very inspirational teacher, and two burnt-out, nagging and badgering teachers. I've seen classrooms where there is a special vibrancy to the learning, and classrooms where the kids were unmotivated.

    I know that each assignment will bring new challenges. I end each day reviewing the many mistakes I made, and knowing that I'll have a new set of challenges the next time out. There is nothing like meeting the challenge of a handling a few behaviorally challenged kids each day, along with the awesome young scholars that are eager to learn and seeing how well you are able to help them, and possibly even inspire them in some way.

    The pay is terrible. I will probably never hear from my boss unless I did something wrong. There is obviously a sentiment of disrespect held by many. But within the challenge are huge learning opportunities, and the possibility that I may be able to positively impact lives which is why I got into this to begin with.

    I post this to support other subs reading this thread, and in hopes that a higher level of respect be given to subs by those that have moved beyond this stage of their career.
     
  30. Julie27

    Julie27 Rookie

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    More2learn:

    If you do not have sub plans for those elementary kids, just play table games with them. There should be plenty of different table games in the classroom. Or, play the place value game with dice. It is when they roll a dice and get as many "one" cubes as the dice rolls. Then, they have to collect them and substitute for tens. Whoever gets 100 first, wins and gets a sticker. Classrooms should be equipped with place value sets.
    Or, give them a drawing assignment. Or, play a hangman on the board. Or, play a book on CD player or read. Some kids would love to sit in the teacher's chair and read a book to the class. Come in earlier and explore the classroom. It might not be perfectly quiet, but you'll be OK emotionally.
    Trust me, it is much easier to handle attention of elementary kids than Middle school kids or higher.
     
  31. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    :thumb:

    I wish there was a way to "like" posts on this forum -- this is so well put! Thank you to all the subs out there who come into an unknown situation on a moment's notice and make the most of what they find. I hope my sub plans are always sufficient!
     

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