Friday, March 13, 2015

Lessons I learned while being a substitute teacher

This past week I was presented with a unique opportunity. This unique opportunity was a little scary at first (I have no problem admitting that), but in the end it turned out to be a great experience I would do again in a heartbeat.

My district had several things happening in many of our schools which resulted in a higher than usual number of teachers requiring a substitute. This high demand of substitute teachers exceeded the number of substitute teachers available, so we were entertaining all types of options to get adequate coverage. As we discussed ways to ensure we had coverage in all of our classrooms, one of our assistant superintendents (@crdpwr) and I both decided we would cover a classroom for the day.

We both selected science classrooms at our HS which put us closer to having full coverage for our district for the day. My science class had 3 sections of general biology, 2 sections of physics, and 1 section of robotics. For the record, I've never been a substitute teacher before and prior to administration, I was a HS German teacher, not science, so this was something a little out of my comfort zone!

Here are a few powerful lessons I learned while being a substitute teacher...

Students want to know their teachers on both a professional and personal level.

Our kids really do crave the opportunity to share their thoughts on issues that affect them.

When we show respect and trust our students they show respect and trust in return.

Students really don't have a lot of freedom while at school and this impacts their attitude toward school.

Substitute teachers should be a more significant priority for school districts to minimize lost 'quality' learning time.

Administrators should commit to subbing for teachers both inside and outside of their building on a quarterly basis.

A full day of connecting with and interacting with students is a refreshing experience.

Students enjoy taking 'groupies' with their teachers.

In the end, this was a great experience and I look forward to doing it again.