Why I subbed for a day…

Yep, I volunteered to sub for a sixth grade teacher last week!

As an administrator, I think it’s very important to understand what teachers are going through. And if my day as a sixth grade teacher is typical of most days “in the trenches,” I have to do a better job of showing my appreciation to those who do it every day.

I actually thought I did a pretty good job!  I was able to hang out with kids all day.  I had a “duty-free” lunch.  I taught the same lesson all day, so by the end I had a pretty good understanding of similes, inference, and capitalization rules (or at least they thought I did).

The only discipline I had to deal with was one instance of horseplay between two students.   I told them to stop, and we went on with the class.  Crisis averted (so I thought!)

I wrapped up my day at 3:40, told the kids to have a nice evening, and put my teacher hat away.  All in all, it was a pretty good day.

Who am I kidding?

Here’s how my day REALLY played out:

  • I forgot to take roll EVERY SINGLE PERIOD!
  • My duty-free lunch was spent talking to kids about grades, and returning parent phone calls.
  • My planning period went by so fast, I barely had time to run to the restroom.
  • Teaching the same thing all day sounds easy enough, but it’s dang hard to keep the energy and excitement in your voice all the way through the day!
  • No matter how great I think I was at teaching, someone always finds fault.

Evidently, not everyone thought I was as amazing as I thought I was. The following morning (with my principal hat firmly in place), I received an email from a parent with concerns about the horseplay the substitute teacher allowed.

So the “administrator me” had to meet with the parent to discuss the “substitute teacher me,” about an issue that “substitute teacher me” had in class.

Why I Was Sub for a Day….

Even though it was frustrating receiving this email,  I really appreciate when parents communicate their concerns to us.  It made me stop and think about all the other emails I get from parents every day. How many times are these emails the result of one-sided conversations?  How many times do they come to me with only half of the story?  As an administrator, it’s my job to make sure I reserve judgment until I hear the whole story.  And it’s equally important that I communicate that to parents and teachers.

So, I’m really glad I took the time to sub for the day.  I am looking forward to many more opportunities to be in the classroom.  In the meantime, I am going to work on empathizing with our teachers, and doing what I can to make their jobs easier.  Being a teacher is HARD WORK!


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