There are times when you get smacked back into reality that you are not a regular classroom teacher and that you are simply just a sub. This week was that time for me. On the whole, districts are grateful for the substitute teachers that they entrust their students with. They realize that on average a classroom teacher misses about 10 days a year and if you do the math that means students miss almost an entire year of education from kindergarten to grade twelve; so, it seems logical that districts do everything in their power to keep well-educated, certified, substitute teachers in their district. It is not hard to come across good and certified substitute teachers with the flooding of the job market. The hard part is keeping them. One of the best ways to keep a sub is to make them feel honored and trusted by treating as if they are one of the staff members. It’s a simple concept that speaks volumes. It’s the same principle that is used with our husbands, ladies; keep them well fed and happy 😉 and they will not go anywhere. In every district, in every school, that I have met this year I have felt honored to be a member of their community and; yet, this week I had a two-day gig at a new school in an affluent school district and I wish never ever to go back. In fact I refuse to go back. The unfortunate reasoning of why substitute teachers will not come back to their school that teacher’s hold is because their school is out in BFE. This is not the case…at least not for me…the school is twenty-thirty minutes away. The reason I won’t go back is because I have never felt so humiliated, so devalued in a school.
When I first walked in my keys were taken…their reasoning was so they could get their badge back. I get it…it’s the whole let’s take your shoe so I get back my pencil policy that is used on students. I asked questions so that I made sure that I did everything correctly per their policies. Staff looked at you like you were dumb and incompetent. I got several rolled eyes. The greatest one was when I asked the office for their substitute login for computers (which I know this district has…I’ve been at many of their schools)…their response: “We don’t allow substitute teachers to be on computers.” My response, totally screaming on the inside: “What?! Are you freaking [No I didn’t say freaking but was thinking about giving them some curse words, but of course Queen Scarlet being queen kept it regal] kidding me? How do I do anything…what if I was outside of my content area and I needed to study up so that I can teach your students correctly, what if your students have questions that can’t be answered, how do I get messages from the office…since I can’t access my email?” Them: “Well, mam we’ll make sure to give you the messages and if your students need help, send them to someone who can.” Wait…did they just call me stupid? I dropped it…turned and left to walk to the classroom almost in tears. They trust their 13-year-old kids more than they do their substitute teachers.
P.S. Messages were not given to me. Pep Rally day=mass chaos. I asked the office on my lunch break: “Should I send my last class to their assist (home room) or will I be taking them down at the announcement?” “You will go with your assist, so dismiss your students a few minutes early.” I dismissed my students a few minutes early and they came back saying that they are to go with their last class. Oh was I mad…a message that was sent out that was never given to me…so now I had students all over the school. I had no idea where they all were…if something serious were to happen…guess whose head it would be…MINE!!!!! Did I ever find all my students…no. I had missing students that I was supposed to be taking care of.
Lesson learned…YOU ARE JUST A SUB. I will not go back! My little rant for the day. Do the best you can dear subs!