The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.


Today I was a 7th grade reading teacher at Franklin Middle School. The day went well. Well, let me restate that. For what I did, the day went well. But I didn’t do much.

The teacher for whom I was subbing co-teaches four of her six class periods. Which meant that, as a sub, there was not much for me to do. This wasn’t for a lack of effort on my part, nor was it a lack of interest in having me assist on the part of my wonderful co-teacher. Rather, teachers in general are loathe to turn their classes over to strangers, and will avoid it whenever possible. So when faced with the option of trusting a relatively unknown man  (or woman) to accurately and successfully teach and trusting a well-known co-teacher, the co-teacher will always win out.

In theory, I love co-teaching. I find it makes classroom management considerably easier. It allows students to ask personal questions without confronting the entire class. It allows for more personalised instruction and differentiation. It helps lighten the load of teaching and helps increase productivity.

In practice, when all of the above mentioned things happen, co-teaching is wonderful, exactly for the reasons given. But as a substitute, I find that I kind of dislike it. There just aren’t enough co-teachers who want a substitute to be the other part of the equation. So I spent a lot of my day sitting at a desk in the back of the room, or walking around observing students, but not really doing anything. To be fair, the students were taking a district assessment, so I may have ended up doing just about the same thing, but I would have been doing it because I could and chose to, not because there was nothing else for me to do.

I hope that I will have the opportunity to substitute for this teacher again, though. I am hoping that, having been there once, she will be more willing to let me do more. Maybe she’ll talk to the other teachers in the building, and find out that I’ve been there, I know the curriculum, and, gosh darn it, I’m good at what I do! Or maybe she’ll never let me near her room again. I doubt the latter will happen, as it hasn’t happened yet, but… well, you never know. There’s a first time for everything, right?

Anyway, it is the weekend, and, after subjecting my faithful readers to a series of posts that were in the 1500-2000 word range, I think I can safely end here. As always, if you have any questions, holler them out in the comments section! If there is something about my job you are still dying to know, let me know that, too, and I’ll try to fit it in. And if you just want to say hi, so that I have more names to put with my readers, that’s cool, too.

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