Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hillbilly Mom: There IS No Substitute

Perhaps I expect too much for my $75.00. And it's not even my $75.00. But still. A sick day to me is worth $20.00 when I retire or leave the district. That's what my employer will pay, up to one hundred days, maximum. But a substitute teacher in Hillmomba earns $75.00 per day. And believe me, I use the term earns loosely.

We have had some good substitutes on our list. But they are few and far between. I'm thinking of the post-septuagenarian who liked to golf in his spare time, who would follow my lesson plans to the last detail, and grade papers, and offer to prepare materials if he was going to fill in for an extended time. Now THAT, my friends, was a sub! And I'm pretty sure this lady would never let me down.

However...some substitutes are severely lacking in the common sense department. I don't mean to disparage an entire group. Perhaps I'm expecting too much from recent high school graduates with sixty hours of college credit and a clean criminal background check, or somebody's formerly stay-at-home mom.

I used to leave detailed plans with actual assignments that I would have given had I been there. But those days are gone. Now I leave busywork that must be turned in that day for credit. Silly me. I actually thought that my sub would pass out a set of Science World magazines, and the assignment sheet right next to them. Seemed simple enough to me, especially with those exact instructions and the location of the magazines and papers in the printed instruction sheet I left on top of my sub folder. And first hour actually turned them in as planned. What happened the rest of the day, I'm not sure. Because there was no summary. No notes jotted about who was absent, who misbehaved, or whether things went as planned. Even though my folder contains forms for just such comments.

Maybe it's just me, but if I spent the day in somebody else's classroom, I would be sure to leave things as I found them. Including the teacher's chair. For instance, I would not leave it at shin level if it was mid-thigh when I first sat on it.

Other things I would not have done:

*rearranged the classroom furniture, including student desks

*taken roll, then walked to the library to read magazines until time for the next class

*told dirty jokes to sixth graders, with the explicit instruction, "Don't tell Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!"

*left the class to their own devices while I strolled around the parking lot enjoying a cigarette

*eaten the students' reward candy stored in the bottom right desk drawer

*taken the class for a walk around the campus instead of doling out the assignment

*logged on with another teacher's name and browsed the internet all day looking at wedding dresses

*turned the thermostat up to 80 degrees

*let the students write their names all over the board with the dry-erase markers

*told the students the plans were stupid, and held a gossip session all hour

Lucky for me, all of these instances did not happen in one day. Or even to me, exclusively. But each incident occurred in our district over the past ten years. Scary, huh? That's why I hate to be gone.

Well...that, and OCD.


Jennifer said...

Hooray NOT..

And Subs like that make it really hard for people like me to actually get any street cred.

80.00 a day over here in this corner of the State.. it's seen as GOOD MONEY..

So I compete with Hair Dressers, Physical Therapists, College Drop Outs and the like for work.

Teachers are stunned when I actually get the work done and do some TEACHING.

But that is only when lesson plans are actually left. Now I know why so many teachers do not leave detailed lesson plans and only leave BUSY WORK.

Or instructions to let the kids watch a movie.

*YAWN* Babysitting...

Sized up some fellow substitutes the other day on the playground where I (surprise, surprise) got playground duty.

Yeah, I can see why Substitutes are not respected and why the FT Teacher only misses when they are on their deathbed.

Hillbilly Mom said...

I forgot that you had been substituting. :) I could never do it. I like a set routine.

You see how your fellow subs give the group a bad name. What are we to do? I mainly want order and no hassles to unravel when I get back. It's a bonus when a sub grades the papers for me. I've only had about three who did, even though I left the answer key in the folder.

One of our teachers floated the idea of taking sick days during his last year, and then subbing for himself. That way, he could get $75 per day instead of the $20 the district will pay him when he leaves. Of course, there's that whole definition of SICK to haggle over...