Mar 2, 2012

Substitute Stories pt. 2

"Nancy" has been a substitute teacher for three years. "I love the hours, and summers off" she says with a smirk. As a retired teacher, Nancy finds that "subbing," as she calls it, is a great way for her to stay connected to teaching and education. "I can set my own schedule and I don't have to worry about not working if I don't want to" she says.

When she worked as a teacher, Nancy taught freshmen English, both at level and pre-AP. Yet, when she substitutes, she enjoys branching away from her areas of expertise."Subbing can be fun and challenging if you're willing to step outside your comfort zone," she says.

This idea is illustrated best when she tells the story of one of her first substitute jobs. "I signed up for a job subbing in a high school English class" she says. "I figured I knew the material so it would be an easy day." When she got to the school, the administration threw her a curve ball.

"I found out that they [the school] didn't need an English sub, but a math sub," Nancy says chuckling. "I took the job because I didn't feel like driving all the way back home for nothing."

Even though it was a geometry class the morning periods were rough. "The teacher left a worksheet for the class but they didn't understand the information. I ended up having to explain Platonic forms and how to calculate volumes of solid objects with only a few minutes prep between each class" she says.

Luckily, substitute teaching tends to be repetitive. By the afternoon, Nancy knew the information and how best to relay it to her students. "I created a game where the students would get points for their team if they could correctly identify forms and tell me the formula for calculating its volume."

All in all, Nancy appreciated the experience. "Subbing in a class that wasn't in my area of study showed me that it's possible for a sub to step into almost any class room and still be affective" she says.

If nothing else, it demonstrates her versatility. A quality that should be a part of all good Substitute teachers.

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