The Pleasures and Challenges of Substitute teaching so far

So this school year I have been a substitute teacher in all of the Fairfield County Schools (FYI, Lancaster City is not a County school). So I have been to Amanda Clearcreek, Fairfield Union, Pickerington schools, Bloom Carol Walnut Township and Liberty Union Schools. (Berne Union is also a Fairfiled County school, but I have not been assigned there this year).

 I have taught all school age groups (K-12) and just about every subject (from the basics- like math  and science to languages Spanish and French to specialties like cooking and industrial arts). It has been a neat experiences, some days easier than others.

There have been a lot of fun and good things about being a substitute teacher. Naturally, I like teaching and it comes easy for me. Although where I am used to teaching is in setting where the people are motivated to be there on their own power: (church, young adult, youth groups, extra-curricular hobbies/instruments or second languages). This is not always the disposition of the students. Obviously, in school the kids are required to be there and many do not desire to be there. So, with that said, I have  had to learn to keep students in line. I have been stretched this year in many ways:

I can be a very easy going, relaxed kind-of-guy. In high schools, this is fine. The students are glad to see me working in the their high schools. They know that I respect them to obey they rules and they respect me and there is no reason to cause any trouble. Working high schools is one of the easiest jobs. The downside is it can be boring, especially when the permanent teacher leaves boring worksheets or assignments.

I middle schools and elementary schools, my relaxed temperament is not always a good thing. I can be too nice and let the students do whatever they want. The good part about teaching middle schools and elementary schools is that I have to be more hands on and the teachers expect me to actually teach something, which is fun for me. The problem is that once students get out of line, I am not quick enough to punish. I will give a few verbal warnings and hope that they do not act up again and when they do I used to just ignore it or give another warning. But this aspect of my teaching temperament has been changing and stretching over the school year. Now I am more likely to follow through with the proper discipline measures after giving a verbal warning. Now the students are respecting my authority a little more. They know that they cannot walk all over me just because I am a sub.

Obviously, there are certain kids that have a more difficult time focusing and obeying than others, but yet these kids seem like they want to be social and develop a relationship with the teacher. They are probably hurting or lacking quality male role models in their lives. So I walk a strange line as duel roles come into play. One one hand, I am the authority of the class and disciplining them, but on the other hand, I am secretly praying for them. Also I am a low-key guy, so I let the kids be kids and socialize a little bit. As long as the kids respect me and do their work and obey the rules of the classroom, I do not see why we should be so uptight about certain behaviors, kids are kids - they need to talk and socialize. They need to play and learn. Life should be a life of balance. For me as the teacher, the challenge has been finding the line, drawling that line so the kids know where it is at and enforcing it. I am still learning the lines.

Some of the more challenging but also more rewarding days as a sub, have been working as a "intervention specialist," "special education" teacher and in the MD and DH classes. These classes I actually get to have one-on-one time with students and actually have to teach. These kids need a lot of patience, grace and persistence but once they actually make progress, even really small progress, it is very rewarding. I have intentionally taken a lot of these assignments because I feel like I am actually making a difference in these classes and have developed some relationships with the students since I have gotten these jobs on a pretty regular basis. I admit that these days can be draining and I would not want to do these classes every day, but these kids need the love.