Adventures in Substitute Teaching

January 9, 2009

I got the job!   What am I thinking!?!?     After child care (OK, doggie day care) expenses, I won’t even make $45 per day.   BEFORE taxes.    I’m betting my time will be 8+ hours away from home.     I’m already dreading this.

I even agreed to pre-K through 12th.    Um, did I really agree to ages under the traditional Kindergarten?    Can I only have the high school honors classes, please?

I can’t believe how I answered some of the questions…

Q:   What do you hope to have accomplished after a day of substituting?
A:   To survive?   (YES, I really said that.)

Q:  Why do you want to be a substitute teacher?
A:  I like the flexibility and that I don’t have to drive very far.  (Hey, I’m honest!)

And they still hired me.   What does THAT tell ya?   Golly, I hope this works out.

How am I ever going to support myself when my genes tell me I might live well into my nineties?   (One gma lived to 103, the other to 94.)   I know I have a privileged lifestyle now, but what about my future?    I feel like career-roadkill, washed up at the age of 43, loser beyond compare.      Sigh.

These kids are going to EAT. ME. ALIVE.     (and I’m talking about the grade schoolers, of course.)



  1. Good Luck is really all i have to say, i will be thinking of you, have a middle schooler with me right now who gave his last substitute a run for her money, but hey, you will be better!!!

    Yea, I’m sure it’ll be fine. My friend who teaches Kindergarten thinks I’m nuts for saying I’ll try any grade, any school.

  2. Good luck. I never treated my substitute teachers badly but all the other kids did. I hope it goes well for you. I started teaching art classes at a private Lutheran school in August…it’s been a challenge. It’s 6th 7th and 8th grade that I teach once a week…it’s been and adventure.

    Hey, cool! I went to a Lutheran school!

  3. Oh my! You sound like me. I feel washed up already too. But now that I hear you say it, I know that I’m not because I know YOU are NOT! You just need to be more positive. They must think you can handle it or they wouldn’t have hired you. There are lots of people looking for jobs right now so don’t be so hard on yourself! Keep us posted! 🙂

    I know. I’ll try to be more positive.

  4. Good luck and remember the first rule of substitution: never show fear.

    I had a class in high school where the teacher had a nervous breakdown. No joke. It was during a class I was in. He walked in, looked around, started shaking and left. I don’t think it was our fault exactly but we took credit for it.

    His sub was a cocky little sort. He quit being a federal agent to become a school teacher. He was the only one who knew anything and was going to show you that. No one liked him.

    When he had his review by the school board we tore him apart. It didn’t start out like that but one kid questioned him and he hesitated. After that we argued with everything he said; paid little attention; responded to questions with nothing more than ‘I dunno.’

    During one exchange with me I told him I didn’t agree and asked if I could be excused. He asked why and I said,

    “I’m here to learn so I figured there must be a class somewhere else in the building I can learn ’cause it sure ain’t here.”

    He cornered me later and asked why (why he singled me out I’m not sure. I was far from the worst). I told him if he was going to be a teacher, teach. If he was going to be a preacher, preach. But a school wasn’t the right venue for that.

    But I’m sure kids are SO much better now.

    I know you’ll do great. You have a perfect attitude for it.

    “Hey, I’ll come if it’s not too far from home!”

    You make me laugh! I’m sure it’ll be fine. Amusing even, I hope. and never boring, I’m sure.

  5. My husband and father both gave me some good advice before I started substituting: Go in loaded for bear. You can always back down and be a decent sort later.

    It was tough, especially the middle schoolers. High schoolers were a breeze in comparison.

    But I always enjoyed when the kids would see me in the hallway and say, “Hey Mrs. Gould!” or “Are you coming to our class today?” in a hopeful voice. It definitely has its nice moments.

    I hope it goes much better than you imagine! I can’t wait to hear all the great stories you’ll have!

    Well, so far, they haven’t called me yet. That first day, I’ll be nervous, but I’ll be fine. Eye contact and silence often works well as an intimidating tactic. Should be interesting, if nothing else!

  6. Whooo, you gonna be old, girl! Just keep blogging; it takes care of you one day at a time, really!
    You ARE a brave lass, but they will love you! You will march in there and confront them with all the myths about subs and kill them with kindness; I can just see it. 😀

    Thanks. I hope to get this first day out of the way and we’ll see if I like it.

  7. Congratulations – a job is a job. I don’t go for all that “washed up” stuff – losers are the ones who NEVER get a job – no matter how hard they try. There is nothing wrong with honest endeavour … whether people are sweeping streets or being a brain-surgeon!

    Good luck!

    You are absolutely right. Honest endeavor, caring and respect. We’ll see how far it takes me!

  8. I hope you do get some chances to teach high school honors classes. 🙂

    Yes – those are the classes when I find out how really smart I’m not.

  9. Subbing is really hard. I think the whole deal is won or lost in the first 5 minutes of class. I wish you the best of luck. Maybe it’ll inspire another post??

    Yea, but they know subbing is hard, and the other teachers know subbing is hard and. It’s really not that hard. But I’m exhausted. Post on it soon!

  10. Congratulations on getting the job! OK so the logistics might seem a little scary, but getting the foot in the door is key! This could totally lead to bigger and better things for you, right? Don’t let the little tykes get you down!

    I did a summer as a child care intern at a daycare that I guess is sort of inner city, or at least not the suburban daycare I’d worked at previously. Different brand of kids, I tell you. Whacked Out Violent 10yo Kid: “You’re not allowed to touch me! I’ll sue you!” Me: “Actually, I’m just not allowed to leave marks. Ever been hit with a phone book?” Haha, it was fantastic. But I survived, and you can too! Let us know how it goes! 😀

    Be watching for my next post: And the Adventure Begins…

  11. […] you’ve been eagerly awaiting further installments in the saga that is MY LIFE, ever since I posted last week on my new move into the world of employment, the world of education, the role that is now mine of […]

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