Confronting my fear of substitute teaching

Since getting my teaching license 4 1/2 years ago, I’ve successfully avoided becoming a substitute in the public schools. It sounds scary right, or is it just me?  I immediately took a job teaching at a private elementary school, even though it paid less than half what I might have made at a public school, just so that I wouldn’t have to run the risk of becoming a sub that first year. I taught there for two years, then took a part-time office job at a private high school, where I also subbed. At that time I also started subbing at a daycare on some of my days off.

Flash forward to now: I am a stay-at-home mom and our family needs some additional income. Subbing in the public schools pays quite a bit hourly and you only have to commit for a day at a time. So. Today I subbed in a public school for the first time ever. It was in an 8th grade classroom, which many people would probably consider the most difficult age group to work with. I so badly wanted to cancel the job and would’ve taken any reasonable excuse to do so. I thought of all the things I might rather do than sub in a middle school classroom: attend jury duty, go to the dentist, ride the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland. But my husband sweetly made me lunch this morning, and my mom showed up ready to spend the day with little Marie, so off I went into the land of adolescent hormones.

Of course, I discovered that it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. True I did have to take one student out into the hall and threaten to send him to the prinicpal’s office, but when I taught at the private school I sent kids to the principal’s office regularly. I even had a teacher’s aide to assist with behavioral support during two of the class periods — and I thought, I’ve died and gone to sub heaven. Of course, there was a reason the teacher had an aide, as a lot of the students seemed to have behavioral issues like ADHD, autism and whatnot, but it wasn’t so bad. My students in the private school had these issues too, I just had smaller classes.

When I was getting my teaching license, I did a student teaching stint in an 8th grade classroom and I never really got over being intimidated by the kids. I think it’s because I had just come from student teaching in an elementary school classroom. Today the kids seemed so young to me, because my most recent job was working at a high school. Also – I’m five years older and I’m a mom now. So I have a whole new perspective.

I’d love to say more but my husband is waiting patiently to hang out with me….so, until next time!

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