Sunday, June 8, 2014

Subbing vs. Teaching

So now that I have student taught for an entire semester, (check out my first day post here)I wanted to write this post about the differences between being an actual teacher and being a substitute teacher.  For those of you who want to become teacher, I would suggest you start subbing in a school district near you during college.  Besides getting paid,  It gets you inside of a school managing a class full of students which is certainly good practice however, by no means is substitute teaching even remotely similar to being an actual teacher... especially not a pinterest perfect teacher.

First, when you are a teacher you form relationships with your students.  You get to know them, their interests, their strengths and weaknesses, etc. and they get to know you as well.  This relationship is built on mutual respect.  As a teacher, you respect your students and in return students respect their teacher (most of the time)

When you are a substitute teacher, you walk into a strange classroom full of faces you've never seen before.  They students have no relationship with you, you are an outsider and therefore they have little respect for you.  Often times students will act out when there is a substitute because they believe you cannot discipline them. I'm always a little bit amused at some of the bad behaviors I see from students when I'm subbing.  However, once I tell them that I am also a teacher and have student taught in their school or district before their bad behaviors diminish

When you are a teacher you set up a classroom routines and expectations that students know and are expected to follow.

When you are a substitute, students brains turn to mush and forget that procedures and rules exist.  That means  students have their phones out and are snapchatting, tweeting, and texting simultaneously.  Students also forget that they are inside of a school and begin talking as loudly as possible, presumably to talk over all the other students who are also talking incredibly loud.

When you are a teacher, you actually teach lessons, plan activities, interact with students, etc.

When you are a substitute your lucky if the teacher leaves a worksheet for the students to do.  Most of the time these worksheets or assignments are busy work that is boring and tedious.  No wonder students don't bother doing it! which brings me to my next point...

When you are a teacher students actually do their work in your classroom.. some days more willingly than others.

When you are a substitute there is absolutely no work getting done by any student in that class.  If you're lucky you'll have maybe one or two students diligently getting their work done but everyone else will be talking and doing their best to ignore you. In the off chance you get a class of students who does their work, more than likely the assignment will only take about half of the class period to complete.  I usually start off class explaining what the teachers expectations are and sometimes I'll even make it fun by racing students to finish the assignment.  This helps keep students on task.  I'll also add an incentive, if everyone finishes their work, the last 5 minutes or so of class you can move desks, talk to your friends, etc. Usually students will cooperate if they know they can go sit by their friend towards the end of class.   

When you are a teacher your day is usually somewhat exciting (or at least not boring).  You are constantly interacting with students and faculty, and you have plenty of work to keep you busy for days, and there is always something new going on!

When you are a substitute your day is very boring! .... Unless you're like me and decide to talk to all of the students whether they want to talk to you or not.  Also, if I'm really lucky and sub for a math teacher I always make it a point to show off my math expertise by helping students, answering questions, and asking students a few questions of my own just to make sure they know what they're doing.  It really throws them off when I do that :) 

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