From you to the Editor. The Editor asks the readers of Substitute Teacher Magazine to write in with your questions and comments. This magazine exists because of our readers, so we encourage you to give your feedback, and make requests!
August 2010 Letters to the Editor
Is it asking too much to be considered in a nice manner (let alone hired) as a substitute when I lack a certificate but have instead experience subbing in other states and other Catholic schools within my state of Washington?I even have completed all the ed courses except student teaching.I guess I thought I could do an "end-around" certification by getting sub experience in other cities.I was successful directing classrooms by myself. I am just not accepting the odds of being from a city with only one Catholic high school and having them enforce their "standards" to the letter, when the more cosmopolitan Seattle area will consider anyone with a bachelors and outstanding moral character.Anyone have any stories to share with me?No one seems to be enlightened here as to other ways to assess one's qualifications for substitute teaching (actually having done it for starters and having loads of life experience and commitment to the religion of the school). I believe my experience is the equivalent of student teaching in intensity, classroom management, and rapport with kids.What more do they need?Oh, that darn piece of paper that costs thousands of dollars, makes you attend courses that are repetitive and universally acclaimed as content poor...that's all. ~Anonymous
July 2010 Letters to the Editor
My name is Brian Asselin, I am a musician and recent graduate from the education program at the University of Ottawa. When I think about my education growing up, I am reminded how fortunate I was to have teachers that continually inspired me to be anything I desired. Teachers have such am profound impact on not only a child's learning but their development as an individual. During my studies I was so inspired by my teachers I co-wrote a song entitled "You Have Made A Difference". Here is the link if you are interested.
Besides substitute teaching, I do video production in our community. It has often come in useful in the schools. One time I was supposed to sub the Tuesday to Thursday of the last week of classes in June in a Grade 4/5 class in a small country school. "Oh, yay!" I thought, "How will I keep them interested in school work?" We ended up using about half of each day to make a video that involved everyone in the class getting to do what they liked best (sports, dance, music, animals, Lego, etc.) strung together by a surreal story of a student who doesn't want to do ANYTHING but watch TV all day (his classmates keep showing up on every channel he switches to). Then he falls asleep, and dreams he is a "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" type of tiny character in all the scenes he had watched. He wakes up and runs out to join his mates in the gym. I edited it all night Thursday (including lots of funny out-takes) and got a class set of DVDs to everyone by the next day. Two years later, I still get comments from students, teachers, and parents about that one.
Dear Editor, I was called to sub for a 4th grade teacher at the last minute. I dressed as quickly as I could and arrived at the school on time. In the classroom I found a desk so cluttered that I couldn't find the lesson plan let alone a place to sit and review it. Every area in the room was a fire hazard. When I did find that one piece of paper without the materials to accompany it. I immediately went back to the office to talk to the principals secretary. I asked her to call the grade chairperson to help me. The best I could describe my experience once the grade chairperson arrived, in the classroom, is that it felt like we were two people putting together a crossword jigsaw puzzle. To make matter even worse, the students were arriving. ~ Alfreda
Dear Alfreda, Unfortunately there are classrooms and teachers that are like that situation. Some classrooms are so cluttered that it is hard for the substitute to find anything. If a room is that disorganized, it most likely affects student learning as well. Hopefully the day got better after the students arrived. Your Editor, Katie Fallon
November 2009 Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor, I retired June 1, 2009 after 35 years of teaching elementary regular education and special education students. Today was the first day of my my life as a "Substitute Teacher"...yes, in the trenches!! I was a substitute in my home school district that I taught in for 24 years. I didn't realize until today what a "LOWER CLASS" of people substitute teachers are made to feel like!!! I met former teachers and co-workers in the hallway that never even made eye contact or took the opportunity to welcome me back ...to the trenches. Am I a lower being than I was 3 months ago when I was under a formal teacher contract with this school? I pray that the love , care, kindness and helping hand I have shared with substitute teachers in my schools over 35 years could be returned to me in some small ways........maybe that's too much to ask of the employees of a school. THANKS to my TRUE friends that shared hugs and smiles with me today! I hope I can remember some bit of positive from my day......yes, maybe it was the little third graders that loved me for who I was.....a being with a caring and concerned heart.....a "real person"....their "Guest Teacher"!! ~anonymous