I’ve been doing a lot of subbing lately in the district I student taught in. It’s been soooo incredibly great to see my kids again (they never stop being “your” kids), but I can’t help but judge the idea of subbing. A lot of full-time teachers view subs as glorified babysitters, and the lessons left for high school students can even be insulting to the students. As much as they might complain, multiple periods of outdated movies, worksheets meant for 5 year olds, and busywork can be tedious for students and substitutes, especially subs like me who have a teaching background.
I’ve been lucky enough to have subbed for some pretty stellar teachers and some amazing students. When teachers leave actual plans– and interesting points of discussion– for subs to complete with the class, students are more likely to behave, listen to what’s going on, and participate in the class.
I’m in a double-period class right now where I’m familiar with the kids. I told them, point blank, if they worked hard and got the work done in the first half of class, I’d let them have a free period the second half of class, as long as they kept the noise level down and were respectful. The change in these kids– a normally rambunctious class– was amazing. They got the work done in half the amount of time they normally would’ve, they gave me absolutely no problems or issues, and they’ve been joking around and conversing with me for the past thirty minutes.
It really shouldn’t be so hard for substitutes to manage classes and get the assigned work done. A little respect and understanding goes a long way.