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Substituting Pet Peeves

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A few pet peeves I have when substituting:

1. Inaccurate seating charts.  Sometimes kids are honest, and sometimes they aren’t.  When the seating chart is not up-to-date, it sure makes it difficult to tell if the kids are messing with me.

2. Movies.  Especially movies for the sake of movies.  When I subbed years ago, the teacher left a video of Bartleby the Scrivener which is interesting as a short story but pretty boring as a movie.  And they hadn’t even read the story.  This week, in subbing for a seventh grade language arts class, we’re watching The Outsiders.  A classic, certainly, but again the students haven’t read the book.  And it’s been far too long since I’ve read it to give them any decent background or explain why they are watching it.

3. Messy desks.  Look, I know each teacher has her own sense of organization.  But it really shouldn’t be so hard to find a sharpened pencil or a pen that works or a paper clip or staples for the stapler.

4. Scant lesson plans.  I like details.  Give me as much as you can, and please try to make sure the lessons will fill the class period.  Sometimes I can wing it, but not in every situation.  So give me lots to keep the students occupied.

When I have my own classroom again, I will definitely keep these things in mind when I need a substitute.


About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

5 responses »

  1. So true! It always makes me sad when teachers assume that a substitute means a “lost” day–subs can do great work with your kids, if you let them!

  2. I agree. Why not at least let the sub try? If all is lost, it’s no worse than sitting them in front of a movie all day. However, on the flip side, Thomas’s world history teacher (9th grade) just got back from maternity leave. Her long-term sub was a total joke – never once gave the kids a lick of homework. Even supposedly “major” projects were all completed in class. Looks like the party’s over now, though.

  3. How was Spanish class?


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