Substitute v. Students

Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. The topic I chose is #3, “Something Students These Days Should Know.” However I wrote it from the view of what I think they should know about this substitute teacher. Sorry, no pictures today.

Yes, I am a librarian, but I also substitute teach.

I have substitute taught off and on for about 3 years, and I really like it! Not enough to have my own classroom, but enough to keep doing it.

I have taken workshops on being an effective substitute teacher, and I have bought guidebooks with possible lesson plans and tips.

I take it very seriously.

I am not there to babysit the students in the class; I am there to continue their education and to implement the lesson plan their teacher has in place. If no lesson plan is in place, I will pull out my Handy-Dandy little file out of my Sub Bag and go to town. With some sort of lesson or assignment, usually something involving writing, to keep my students occupied for at least five minutes.

I substitute teach for all grades from Pre-K through 12th. The younger kids are so very sweet! The older kids are cooler than I ever was or could hope to be. However, this particular list is aimed toward the older crowd.

Something High School students today should know…from the point of view of your Substitute Teacher.

  1. I am not there for your entertainment. I do not juggle…well. I am not a comedienne. Seriously! No one can kill the punch line of a joke faster than I can! The funniest part of my jokes is me trying to remember exactly how the punch line goes!
  2. When I give you an assignment it is NOT a suggestion. Unless there is no lesson plan available, the assignments I give you are coming from your teacher and I am just the one giving you the bad news. If a teacher knows they will be absent they give LOTS of work in the attempts to keep you from sending me straight from your classroom and into a bar!
  3. I am not going to delude myself that you are actually acting the same way you would if your regular teacher were in the room.
  4. I KNOW you are going to act up, it’s a longstanding right and ritual among students to expect they will get away with a bit more mischief with a substitute than with their regular teacher. However, there’s mischief and then there’s going way beyond!
  5. I am not there for your entertainment. (please refer to #1). It is not advisable for you to pelt me with papers, to throw candy around the room (unless you are sharing with me), turn on the radio, etc. All this will do is force me to call the office and request you be removed from my room. It usually only takes one student, then the rest get the idea.
  6. Sticks and stones and all the rest, the writing assignment you turn in noting that you hope a dog urinates on me just makes me happy you know how to spell urinate correctly.
  7. I am a librarian, with a degree and everything that says I am a librarian. This means that I am classically trained in the art of “SHUSH-ING” you.
  8. The phrase, “If you are talking, the people around you cannot hear what I am saying,” really means SHUT UP!
  9. I do not negotiate with terrorists or high school students, however, I may offer you a deal. I am not above bribery. You pay attention, do your work, follow the rules and you might just get rewarded. I buy Jolly Rancher candies by the 3lb bags. If you don’t follow the rules I have the ability to impose a SILENT STUDY HALL! Mwahahahahaha…POWER!
  10. I do not have all the answers, but I DO have an answer key! At least you better hope I do, ’cause my degrees are in history and libraries which means I do not excel in science or math, especially at the high school level. But I will do my best.
  11. Your teacher may not be in the classroom, but they left the world’s biggest TATTLETALE in their place. I do leave a highly detailed note for the teacher outlining every aspect of my day in their classroom – what we accomplished, what we did not accomplish and why, every absence, every student who leaves and for how long, and (depending on the day) every class or student who gives me an unusual amount of grief.

I actually ENJOY teaching high school and even *GASP* middle school. I must be crazy.


10 thoughts on “Substitute v. Students

  1. I remember having substitute teachers in high school. I was always more respectful to the sub than I was the real teacher. Not sure why. I know for most kids it is the other way around. Interesting to get a sub’s perspective on the classroom.

  2. I just started subbing this year. I’ve only braved elementary school so far and I get to sub for the librarian next week for the firs time. I’d really like to try middle school before my child is one, just to see what it is like. This list is right on! Stopping by from Mama Kat’s…

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