Confessions About Subbing

March 26, 2014
*When I first headed in and filled out my paperwork, I was concerned that I wouldn't get any calls to sub.  YEAH, RIGHT.  In the county that I live in, there are a ton of school districts I could sub at, but I just narrowed it down to two districts.  The reason why I chose those particular districts is because I did my student teaching in those districts and liked those ones the best out of all of my student teaching experiences.  I get a call literally almost every single day and always am turning down jobs because one district will call me when I'm subbing at the other one or when I have to work my other job at the movies.  Sometimes I turn down jobs just because if I didn't I would never, ever get a day off since I have to work almost every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the movies.

*I don't always learn all the kids' names by the end of the day.  Of course I know all the names of the kids in classrooms that I sub in frequently, but there have been a lot of classes that I have just subbed for once.

*I know that education is not a very lucrative field in general, but I was kind of appalled at how little subs make in a day!  At the districts I work at I get $70-$75 per day.  I'm not knocking the schools I work for at all...that is standard sub pay for the area.  I just can't believe that subs get about $10 an hour.  I normally show up 1/2 hour early, too...just because I like to go over all the plans ahead of time so that I know what I'm doing or can get my questions answered.

*It is always appreciated when a teacher leaves me "extra's" for if we finish an activity earlier than anticipated.

*I so wish the secretaries would tell me the grade and teacher right away when asking me whether or not I'm available.  Usually they just ask, "Would you be able to sub tomorrow?"  If I have had no days off that week and have to sub a subject that I don't really like to teach (PE, for example), I'd want to say no.  If it's this precious group of 2nd graders that I've fallen in love with, I would jump at the chance, but how do you say, "Well, I can sub only for certain classes, but not for ones I don't like."??  You can't.

*Subbing so much has made me very aware of what type of information I will be including in lesson plans when I have to get a sub one day.  I've sent kids home on the wrong busses because the teachers didn't update their lists.  A list of student's medical conditions/allergies should also be mandatory.  A kid brought in peanut butter crackers for a snack, and I freaked out because I didn't know if everyone could eat them.  When I teach 5 and 6 year olds, they don't always know about what busses they should be going on (especially if it changes throughout the week) and about their allergies.

*I try to follow the teacher's lesson plan as much as I can, but doing so much subbing has taught me that sometimes I just have to go with the flow.

*I feel like I can tell what type of teacher I'm subbing for (most of the time) by the way the class behaves, by the lesson plans, and by how the classroom looks.  I felt a little bad for this one class because the room just didn't seem inviting and the walls were bare with no student work displayed anywhere.  There wasn't even a map to reference and the class was studying about explorers from Europe!!  On the other side of the spectrum, another teacher had such an amazing jungle themed room!  It was full of learning tools, literature, word walls, and resources for student learning.

*It's the best when teachers leave me a list of reliable students/good helpers.  I don't want to ask the class clown a genuine question I have about their daily routine.

*Leaving me a bunch of worksheets to do with the kids isn't doing me any favors!  I think teachers do this because they think it will be easier on a sub, but I'd rather set up centers or actually teach lessons.  I mean, I get why a lot of teachers would leave a bunch of paperwork for the class...It's because there is no guarantee about whether or not the teacher filling in for them is licensed or not.  Some subs may not have had much experience with kids or even in the field of education.  (In my state, anyone with a four year Bachelor's degree in any field is able to sub.)  I do find that my days go much more smoothly when I am able to just to do the class's normal routine with them.  After doing a bunch of worksheets all day, the kids get bored, I'm bored, and that's when more behavior problems start!

*Subbing has been beneficial to me because I've dealt with a very wide variety of students since I've gotten to work in so many different classrooms.  Also, if a lesson or classroom management trick goes really well, I'll make a note of it and keep it in mind so that I can use it in the future.  One teacher told me that if the class was doing a good job, I could give them all a handful of "diamonds" to encourage them.  The diamonds were clear beads--is that not the cutest?

*Subbing has taught me that I'm a FIRM BELIEVER IN RECESS TIME.  At one school I sub for, the students get two 15 minute recesses, and one 30 minute recess.  At a different school, the kids only get one 15 minute recess all day.  Personally, I'd rather work over an extra 1/2 hour or 15 minutes if it means the kids get to go out and play.  They need breaks and time to be active and socialize!  Even as a graduate student, I stopped listening to professors if I had to go a long time without a break!  As a sub, recess time gives me a chance to switch gears and get the supplies ready for the next lesson.

*When I sub I kind of have to dehydrate myself because if I have to go to the bathroom, who is going to be in there with the kids?

*I loathe when a teacher's behavior plan does not reward positive behavior.  Personally, I love this clip up/clip down chart.  It's much more flexible and it shows students that even if they have a bad morning, they could still possibly have a good afternoon because it gives them chances to change their behavior.  One of my cooperating teachers used this chart for her class, and she would even clip them off the chart and wear the students' clips on her clothes if they were doing an amazing job.


* I never know whether or not teachers would like me to do their grading.  Some teachers I've talked to love it, but other teachers don't like it because they grade a very specific way and do 1/2 credit and whatnot.

Linking up with Kathy today!

What are your confessions about your job?
 
20 comments on "Confessions About Subbing"
  1. my job is awesome but sometimes the down time can drag. i know that sounds weird and most people would jump at long bouts of down time but there's only so much you can surf! so i *ask* for work. GASP!!

    thanks for linking up!

    -kathy | Vodka and Soda

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    1. What exactly do you do again? I just remember you saying that you work from home. Yeah, when the theater is slow I get so bored, but I'm never bored or find myself having lots of extra time while subbing.

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  2. I could imagine subbing must not be the easiest job based on how subs often were treated in my school. Must be such a challenging job though that teaches you so much!

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    1. I don't think it is an easy job because in every classroom there is just so much going on. I have names to learn, new routines to follow, and certain kids to look out for. It has taught me a lot, but I'm looking forward to having my own class!!

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  3. I had a teacher that had the clip up clip down charts and we got prizes at the end of the week for being good. It was great and still to this day she is one of my favorite teachers that I remember. Just from reading this I think you'll be a great teacher!

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    1. That's so cool! None of my teachers ever used anything like this. They usually just wrote our names on the board and took away our recess if we talked or misbehaved.

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  4. OMG this post is AMAZING. I totally pinned it. So many interesting points about subbing that I've never thought of.
    Also, I'm going to my first job fair tomorrow, wish me luck!

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    1. Aw, thanks for pinning it. I bet you rocked it at the job fair. My sis and I went to one and she liked it because even though she didn't get the job she interviewed for, she got lots of practice answering those interview questions.

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  5. I was a sub right after college until I got my job. I would definitely do it again- always something different as there were A LOT of schools in my district!

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    1. Yeah, the good thing about subbing is that the classes are all so different. If you have a bad day one day, the next day could be perfect.

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  6. I love this! I am a teacher, and I would love it if my sub put this must thought/effort into subbing! It doesn't always happen! I understand being bored by worksheets, but you really never know who you are going to get. I don't always leave worksheets, especially if you know the sub is capable, but if I don't know their capabilities, worksheets it is.

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    1. Certain teachers that I student taught under previously ask for me, and leave me activities to do with the kids. I guess it's hard to find a sub that you like when you're not there to really interact with them!!

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  7. I give you props for being a sub. I'm a teacher & I wish more subs were like you. It's really hard to even get subs in the district that I work for & not all, but a lot of them that we do get don't do anything. I had one sub shove the review that I wanted them to go over with the students in my desk & then say they couldn't find it. My students said that she sat on her phone talking to her dad cause it was his birthday.

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    1. Omg, that is terrible!! I don't think they would ever be called back at the schools I sub for! There are a lot of older women that just do it for fun & one of them is even a retired teacher.

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  8. Wow, I didn't know the pay for subbing was so low! I know teachers aren't exactly rolling in cash, but still.

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    1. My friend even subbed in NYC where you lived (she's from Long Island), and she only got $90 a day.

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  9. Im working on becoming a sub, i loved this post!

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    1. I'm glad & good luck to you when you start subbing!

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  10. What an interesting perspective from a sub's point of view! It must be tough at times, going from different school to different school and also not always knowing what your day ahead is like. But then again, one sub I know likes the flexibility in saying yes/no to jobs and also she's trying to get her feet wet in going back to teaching (after being at home raising kids for the last few years).

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    1. I think I would rather just be a full time teacher, I get how subbing would be a great fit for some people!

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