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May 5, 2016 Lessons I've Learned as a Substitute Teacher By Lindsey Petlak
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    TRADING PLACES:

    As I introduced in my last post, I had to take a medical leave this school year. Since I’m returning so late in the year, we decided to let my long-term sub remain in my classroom for consistency while I would continue subbing throughout the district until school is over. MY how this has been an eye-opening experience in countless ways! Most of all, it has shown me just how much gratitude we should have for some of the unsung heroes of every school in America! Read on to discover everything I've learned while trading places from classroom teacher to long-term substitute.

    Subs Work Hard:

    Classroom teachers toil tirelessly, in ways that non-teachers can never understand. However, I have learned that subbing is no piece of cake or leisurely stroll, either. When you are a substitute teacher, you ALWAYS have to be on your toes. New buildings, principals, teachers you are subbing for, students, expectations, plans, schedules, and more. It all gets to be pretty exhausting. We should make sure to leave subs everything they could possibly need in an organized, simple manner. The staff at each school I have had the pleasure of subbing at have been so incredible and for that I am extremely grateful. I plan to pay that same feeling forward the next time I see subs in my own building.

     


    Who Really Runs the Show

    Secretaries, custodians, and nurses are the secret silent heroes of every school in America. My mom has worked as both a school and guidance office secretary for years, and so I have witnessed her tireless efforts. However, it’s never the same as experiencing that work firsthand. I recently subbed as a school secretary, and had a blast doing so. Seeing the inner-workings of the thousands of daily tasks and responsibilities was absolutely fascinating, intimidating, and gave me a whole new level of respect for the secretaries of our schools.

    Likewise, working as a school secretary helped me see just how much our custodians and nurses do for everyone in the school on a daily basis. From hauling milk down to the lunchroom, to covering for office workers so they may take breaks, custodians and nurses are vital to the success of schools in ways most of us never actually realize.

     


    Paraprofessionals Don’t Get Paid Enough

    You want to see hard working individuals who never get to rest? Go shadow or sub for a paraprofessional. I have the utmost respect for our paraprofessionals and other teacher aides, but you don’t fully grasp the level of effort, responsibility, and exhaustion that comes with being a 1:1 aide or classroom paraprofessional until you’ve walked in their shoes. I have an entirely new appreciation for those amazing individuals.

     


    The Kids Are Doing Just Fine

    As teachers we know how capable our students are and love giving them opportunities to be independent and shine, but with all of the current demands and time constraints on classroom teachers and students, we often have to keep things under pretty tight teacher control. What’s great to see when serving as a substitute teacher is that when the regular classroom teacher is away, a lot of responsibility falls onto the shoulders of the kiddos. They have to help the sub remember daily routines, expectations, schedules, and more. It just goes to prove that while it is our job as educators to maintain control in the classroom, our students have amazing capabilities when they need to be independent and responsible.

    General Takeaways:

    • Lesson plans need to be a balance of enough information to keep the day running, but not a novel that gets overwhelming and confusing.

    • Include a photo class roster as well as name checklist for attendance and other needs.

    • Be flexible with plans you leave, because it’s difficult to squeeze everything into the day!

    • It’s difficult to sub in a classroom that is disorganized. Laying out materials in a simple and clear manner is very helpful.

    • Classrooms that have daily systems for management, activities, routines, and academics that the students know and have mastered make for the most successful substitute experiences (both for sub teacher and students).

    • Leaving great behavior management plans that are simple enough for a sub to implement in your absence is key to ensuring a great, productive day in your absence.

    • It has been the best experience to try out different grade levels, subjects, specials, other school positions, and new schools in general throughout this opportunity!

     


    Happy Teacher Appreciation Week 2016! I'm sending out appreciation and gratitude to every single person who helps make our schools run daily! THANK YOU!

    TRADING PLACES:

    As I introduced in my last post, I had to take a medical leave this school year. Since I’m returning so late in the year, we decided to let my long-term sub remain in my classroom for consistency while I would continue subbing throughout the district until school is over. MY how this has been an eye-opening experience in countless ways! Most of all, it has shown me just how much gratitude we should have for some of the unsung heroes of every school in America! Read on to discover everything I've learned while trading places from classroom teacher to long-term substitute.

    Subs Work Hard:

    Classroom teachers toil tirelessly, in ways that non-teachers can never understand. However, I have learned that subbing is no piece of cake or leisurely stroll, either. When you are a substitute teacher, you ALWAYS have to be on your toes. New buildings, principals, teachers you are subbing for, students, expectations, plans, schedules, and more. It all gets to be pretty exhausting. We should make sure to leave subs everything they could possibly need in an organized, simple manner. The staff at each school I have had the pleasure of subbing at have been so incredible and for that I am extremely grateful. I plan to pay that same feeling forward the next time I see subs in my own building.

     


    Who Really Runs the Show

    Secretaries, custodians, and nurses are the secret silent heroes of every school in America. My mom has worked as both a school and guidance office secretary for years, and so I have witnessed her tireless efforts. However, it’s never the same as experiencing that work firsthand. I recently subbed as a school secretary, and had a blast doing so. Seeing the inner-workings of the thousands of daily tasks and responsibilities was absolutely fascinating, intimidating, and gave me a whole new level of respect for the secretaries of our schools.

    Likewise, working as a school secretary helped me see just how much our custodians and nurses do for everyone in the school on a daily basis. From hauling milk down to the lunchroom, to covering for office workers so they may take breaks, custodians and nurses are vital to the success of schools in ways most of us never actually realize.

     


    Paraprofessionals Don’t Get Paid Enough

    You want to see hard working individuals who never get to rest? Go shadow or sub for a paraprofessional. I have the utmost respect for our paraprofessionals and other teacher aides, but you don’t fully grasp the level of effort, responsibility, and exhaustion that comes with being a 1:1 aide or classroom paraprofessional until you’ve walked in their shoes. I have an entirely new appreciation for those amazing individuals.

     


    The Kids Are Doing Just Fine

    As teachers we know how capable our students are and love giving them opportunities to be independent and shine, but with all of the current demands and time constraints on classroom teachers and students, we often have to keep things under pretty tight teacher control. What’s great to see when serving as a substitute teacher is that when the regular classroom teacher is away, a lot of responsibility falls onto the shoulders of the kiddos. They have to help the sub remember daily routines, expectations, schedules, and more. It just goes to prove that while it is our job as educators to maintain control in the classroom, our students have amazing capabilities when they need to be independent and responsible.

    General Takeaways:

    • Lesson plans need to be a balance of enough information to keep the day running, but not a novel that gets overwhelming and confusing.

    • Include a photo class roster as well as name checklist for attendance and other needs.

    • Be flexible with plans you leave, because it’s difficult to squeeze everything into the day!

    • It’s difficult to sub in a classroom that is disorganized. Laying out materials in a simple and clear manner is very helpful.

    • Classrooms that have daily systems for management, activities, routines, and academics that the students know and have mastered make for the most successful substitute experiences (both for sub teacher and students).

    • Leaving great behavior management plans that are simple enough for a sub to implement in your absence is key to ensuring a great, productive day in your absence.

    • It has been the best experience to try out different grade levels, subjects, specials, other school positions, and new schools in general throughout this opportunity!

     


    Happy Teacher Appreciation Week 2016! I'm sending out appreciation and gratitude to every single person who helps make our schools run daily! THANK YOU!

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