Sure, I am a loving mother and I work in education, but I’ll be the first to admit that I am really not a big fan of kids. It doesn’t seem to make much sense. I have a love of learning, teaching, students, and having intelligent and thought-provoking discussions so it all makes sense to me.
I’m not a crazy person trying to compare my belabored work day with an Army ranger out in the field. I’m also not one of those moms who wonders why I don’t make 6 figures because I’m a “chauffer,” a “maid,” a “teacher,” a “chef,” and a “momgineer!” Heck, I fully understand that the job of a sub is not nearly as difficult as any full time teacher. But it does come with its own set of stresses and believe it or not, is often more unappreciated than even our regular classroom teachers.
Just like any job you’ve never done, you can easily call it simple. But it can be very daunting. Imagine your income depending on waking up to a phone call at 7:00am (if it even comes at all), having to be there at 7:45, knowing only a general location and maybe what type of class it is. Once you arrive, you have maybe 15-30 minutes (depending on circumstances) to either decipher 6 pages of scrawled out notes for 8 class periods or figure out how to stretch a one-sentence instruction into a 7 hour day. Depending on your placement, you could supervise more than 150 students in one day. Imagine the possibilities of personalities that are bound to show up throughout the day.
A best case scenario is to become a regular fixture at one school or better yet a long term sub for one specific classroom, but this is an elusive luxury. When you’re trying to make a living, beggars can’t be choosers. I’ve been a substitute teacher at at least 8 different schools for kindergarten through 12th grade, phys ed, music, Spanish, art, English, math, religion, health, special education classes, and one of the worst jobs ever-the roving sub, going to a different classroom every single period and covering a different teacher and class 8 times in one day (future post to come). I’ve also made fantastic connections, met some amazing students, and have learned tons about the industry from the inside. It’s like a paid internship and I’m not the snot nosed kid, I’m the boss! Ok not really, but…
This is what I do:
supervise and manage a room full of kids, preteens, or teens
(I dare you to tell me that I don’t deserve some sort of respect for that)
follow a lesson plan
teach and instruct
discipline, if necessary
reward, if earned
lead to safety, if I must
engage and connect with the students
keep the peace
keep students on task
make important decisions quickly
take on general responsibility for someone’s most prized and priceless possession (30-200 of the little buggers per day)
a hella lot of other stuff
and if I make a mistake, the consequences can be huge
This is not what I do:
watch movies all day
(OK GAWD once in a while I do but it’s not my choice and they’re usually about the reconstruction era!!)
put my feet up and put sunglasses on
chain the doors and scream at the children
play on my phone while the spit balls fly
wipe any noses or butts
I can’t speak for ANYONE ELSE who is out there subbing. Word on the street is, they’re not all as awesome as I am. All I’m saying is, I’m not a damn baby sitter.