Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Top 5 Things About Substitute Teaching

In an effort to remain positive about my current career, I have decided to compile a list of the five best things about my job. It doesn't hurt to look on the bright side, right?

5. It isn't hard.

Frustrating? Yes. Miserable? Yes. Hard? No. The vast majority of my days consist of me giving out instructions at the beginning of class, then sitting on my butt for the rest of the period. Sometimes all I have to do all day is press play on a VCR. Sure, there are some days where I have to do a lot more work to keep things under control, but my average day isn't much of a challenge. As long as I take the attendance, respect the kids, and keep them from disturbing the classrooms around me I am golden.

4. The expectations placed on my abilities are low.

This makes it hard to be a disappointment. No one expects a substitute teacher to walk into a classroom full of rowdy kids and magically make them behave. Everyone understands that kids behave much worse than usual when a sub is in the room. I am not expected to do a better job than a regular classroom teacher. In fact, I am expected to do much worse, so there isn't too much pressure to perform well.

3. No one pays attention to me.

This can be a drawback in some ways, but my personality type probably derives more positives from this fact than negatives. While I do sometimes get lonely on the job, I enjoy not having to interact with that many people. I work well on my own, I don't have to make small talk with other adults and when the bell rings at the end of the day I am out the door with no one holding me back. No one comes by my classrooms to check on what I am doing, so I can sit and knit all day while the kids work. The knitting is what preserves my sanity, so I consider bringing along a project as necessary as wearing pants.

2. I can work whenever I want.

I can pick and choose which days I want to work. If I have a doctors appointment or I get sick, I don't have to beg a manager to let me take time off. It's nice to not have to answer to anyone in this regard.

1. If a day goes poorly, who cares? I'll probably never see these kids again.

Unlike regular classroom teachers who have to work to solve behavior issues, I can blissfully ignore them. If the day totally sucks, I don't have to come back and deal with the students ever again. I can make it through the day and then walk out, never to return. It's quite freeing. I do the best I can, but some days are just monsters. On those bad days, my best consolation is knowing that these students aren't mine and I don't have to try and fix their problems.

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