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"Is it necessary to say “Yes” to every subbing assignment that is offered to me?" PDF Print E-mail
Dear Barbara,

I am proud to say that I have a good reputation in my school district, after subbing here for a little over a year. Most students seem to be happy when I’m their sub for the day. Many teachers put in requests for me, or call me directly.
Although I’m usually pretty effective with classroom management, there have been some classes that have been very tough to handle. In the past, I’ve said yes, even for those difficult groups.
Do you think I should continue to say yes, even when I know the day will be really hard for me?

Little Rock, Arkansas

Dear Kelly,

You have established the groundwork for your career. That’s admirable. By being effective and dependable, teachers know that they can count on you.

There are some groups of students that are almost toxic. Their own classroom teachers have trouble with them. There are also teachers that don’t lay the proper groundwork for subs. With no backup, it’s hard to be effective.

You have every right to turn down a job that you know will be trouble. One of the advantages to being a sub is that you can say “No” sometimes. Why not protect yourself?

However, don’t be afraid of a challenge. Sometimes we “typecast” ourselves. You may be surprised to learn that Kindergarten, or Middle School might be easier than you think. You’ll broaden your repertoire too!


Barbara Pressman is the author of book Substitute Teaching from A to Z (McGraw-Hill, 2008), available in all major bookstores and To find out more, visit:

If you have a question for Barbara, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .