Saturday, November 10, 2012

Substitute Teachers, Part Two: The Pros and Cons

Welcome back to another day in my life and my experiences as a substitute teacher.  On Thursday, I discussed how becoming a substitute teacher works and gave a few tips for preparing yourself to be a sub.  Today, I will discuss some of the pros and cons of working as a sub.

Pro #1:  Getting to work with children

For me, getting to hang out with a group of kids is really fun.  For others, this may be an exercise in torture.  I will say that if you absolutely HATE kids, don't be a sub.

Con #1:  Getting to work with Teenagers

I honestly do not know how the teachers who teach high school kids every single day do it.  They are snarky, rude, and usually think they know anything.  These days, getting them detached from their cell phones for the school day is very hard.  Administering discipline is also harder in the high school because a time out is no longer a threat to them.

Pro #2:  Never having to work a weekend

I can make plans for Saturdays and Sundays with confidence because I know that I will not be called in to work.  I am also off by 3:00 on Fridays that I work so I have plenty of time to travel if I need to.

Con #2:  Not having a regular, guaranteed schedule

My older brother works in retail and gets his schedule three weeks in advance.  I have found out I was working 20 minutes before I needed to be there.

Pro #3:  The Good Days

There are two kinds of good days, for me: the days when I have a lot to do but have fun doing it.  The kids are well behaved and friendly.  Most elementary days are like this.  You rarely meet meet a malicious six year old who calls you fat and threatens to sue you (true story...).

The second type of good days are the passive good days.  Those are the days when you basically don't have to do anything.  These mostly are days in high school when the kids are old enough to be given independent work for the entire class period and all you have to do is sit there, read a book and occasionally check to make sure no one is cheating/texting/going to kill each other.

Con #3:  The Bad Days

I wish I could say they were few and far between but they aren't.  These are the days when the kids won't listen, you hear nothing but back talk, one of the kids has a mental breakdown in your class, you have to call an administrator into the room, there is a fight you have to break up, you get ten minutes for lunch because there is a random duty they need you to cover, and the staff members around you are not helpful.  Ugh!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is all I can say.

Pro #4:  Getting of Early

The absolute latest I get off is 3:00.  Then I go home, drink my coffee, and do whatever I want.

Con #4:  Getting up Early

I am not a morning person and many days I am up and watching kids before I am ready to be out of bed, much less trying to keep a group of high schools from killing each other.

There are many more things I could say about what I do, about the things I enjoy and the things I hate.  I could give you stories of my triumphs and failures, the days I love it and the says I'm ready to give it up to work at McDonald's.  You should also know that every sub experience is unique and you may have lots and lots of good days with few bad days.  Good for you.

For tomorrow:  Substitute Teachers, Part Three:  Suggestions for Regular Teachers to have good days with subs.

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