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Do you think you could be a substitute teacher?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on January 20, 2008

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Photo of Dave Gray

“I think I could handle it as long as they weren’t too young. I wouldn’t know what to do with kindergartners or first-graders.”

Photo of Julie Toplikar

“It depends on the subject, but I think I could wing it.”

Photo of Lauren Smith

“I think I would either not have what it takes or be one of the cool substitute teachers that don’t make the kids do any work.”

Photo of Caleb McAndrew

“Yes. I currently work as an assistant teacher, so I’m sure I could sub in for someone.”


kugrad 10 years, 1 month ago

I would LOVE to see the regular anti-public school right-wing echo-chamber knee-jerk anti-science anti-reason crowd that regularly post to any article on education with their negative views spend a day or two as a substitute teacher in an elementary school. They'd be eaten alive.

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 1 month ago

And why would they be "eaten alive" kugrad? Could it possibly be that for thirty years the American educator has been more interested in finding a "new" was to teach or trying "new" teaching philosophies than in actually educating students? Or possibly because it's been more important to have the students think "I'm special" than "I'm needing to get an education?" Educators have tought them to "feel good about themselves" but far too many can't even begin to function in business. They can't make change without calculators. They can't spell without spell checkers. If they don't have grammar checkers it's "there" for "their" or a hundred other similar errors. They require constant reinforcement, "yes, you're doing great" when they aren't doing anything. Little knowledge of history, American or World. Little knowledge of geography........ ad infinitum ad nauseum

H_Lecter 10 years, 1 month ago

It might be fun to do someday when I retire.

Nikki May 10 years, 1 month ago

Really? Do you have kids in school? Sure the kids get encouragement. As adults we don't do anything without it either. We don't go to work without getting paid, isn't that an encouragement to work? My child, and I'm guessing most in her class, knows how to write using the proper grammar, she spells decently for her age, and she's working on making change all the time. In fact, my daughter won't even use text speak in a text message. She only writes in complete sentences. If this trend you refer to has been going on for only 30 years, the people in their 50s and over SHOULD be able to spell, write, and make change perfectly, but I know many that can't. For that matter, there are plenty of people that don't know their history, geography, or current events in that age group too. I added current events because that is also important.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 1 month ago

Lauren Smith wouldn't last long as a sub in my district. She might think she'd be popular with kids for not making them work, but they would soon be walking all over her. Plus, our administrators listen to teachers when they don't like a sub (and there's nothing worse than coming back from being sick and finding out you're way behind), and those kind of subs are called last.

Erin Parmelee 10 years, 1 month ago

I did it for a year and it was great! Is it supposed to be hard? I thought the kids were well minded, paid attention, and in general did what I asked. Of course, I bribed them with candy, but come on..... :)

more_cowbell 10 years, 1 month ago

"I'm needing to get an education." That's a bit awkward. "I need" is more appropriate than "I'm needing" in that sentence. Also, "to get" really isn't necessary in the sentence, either.

That's all the encouragement you need, right? Or should I say "you're needing"?


Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 1 month ago

Candy always works. I also give them a reward for getting a good report from a sub.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 1 month ago

Sure I could. I meet all the requirements and would just have to apply for an emergency teaching certificate. It might be kind of fun. I'd prefer either the really little kiddies or the older ones. 5th, 6th, 7th grade...not so much.

GretchenJP 10 years, 1 month ago

I defiinitely think I could. I nearly went to college to earn a degree as a teacher. My mom is a full time teacher in CA so I think I get my skills from her. I also did some student teaching as a credit in high school. I really liked it.

Dixie Jones 10 years, 1 month ago

i am a paraeducator and i know we are sometimes pulled in to sub i think i could handle it bu if it was for more than on dea i deff would have to have lesson plans to run off of otherwise the kids would tell me they dont have to do anything....

Godot 10 years, 1 month ago

I occasionally substitute for other teachers. It is very challenging.

Irene 10 years, 1 month ago

Hey there, OnlyTheOne! How about you? Apparently your teachers weren't that strong on teaching proofreading and the importance of first drafts and editing until the final draft.

Could it possibly be that for thirty years the American educator has been more interested in finding a "new" was . . . [a new WAS?]

Educators have tought them . . . [TOUGHT?]

salad 10 years, 1 month ago

If teaching Jr/Sr. high is a thankless ugly job, then subbing those kids is the mother of all thankless ugly jobs. I did it for a year; I'd rather throw trash than sub again.

Charlie Naramore 10 years, 1 month ago

"dorothyhr (Dorothy Hoyt-Reed) says: Lauren Smith wouldn't last long as a sub in my district (...)"

Lauren's sarcasm aside, because she must be very disappointed she wouldn't make the cut, good(?) for you(?) and your district? I guess it's a good thing your district doesn't hire teachers off the street...

Eric Neuteboom 10 years, 1 month ago

I believe, Irene, that OnlyThe One was looking for this word:


grammar bashing

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 1 month ago

I did catch Lauren Smith's sarcasm, but we have been stuck with subs like this before, and, despite a lack of subs, they weren't called back unless the need was desperate.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 1 month ago

Sorry, forgot to complete my thought. Many teachers hate being off, because it is a lot of work to prepare lesson plans for a sub. It's easier just to show up and tough it out. When the sub then ignores all the hard work put into the plans, then teachers are really let down. When I can't be there (meetings or illness), I expect learning to continue. It's not a free day.

Oh by the way, I teach 6-8 grades, and I don't think I could sub for them, but when you are with them everyday, they really are pretty cool to work with, hormone imbalances and all.

George_Braziller 10 years, 1 month ago

I'd be as sub in elementary school in a second. I almost went into elementary education when I was trying to decide on a degree. However in junior high or high school I would be the crack-the-whip substitue that all the kids would hate.

denak 10 years, 1 month ago

At one time, I was thinking of becoming a teacher so I got a job as a paraeducator. During the school year, the teacher's son became very ill and she was gone for most of the last half of the year. We had a sub and she was wonderful. The one thing she did, that the regular teacher did not do, is that she pushed math a great deal. That is not to say that the regular teacher was bad, on the contrary she was a very good teacher, but the sub just had a different priority. The kids benefited from both of them.

As for me, it taught me that I really did not want to be a teacher. She knew I was interested in teaching so she let me teach from time to time. Omg, that was the scariest thing I ever done. Anyone who thinks teaching is "easy" and that teachers aren't professionals should try to stand up in front of a grade full of second graders. All of them looking at you. And don't make a mistake because they will catch it!!

I loved doing it but it was the scariest thing I've ever done.

So, now I went to my other choice. I'm going to work with criminals. :)


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