An Epiphany While Subbing…

I had an epiphany while subbing today.

But first, some background.

Subbing is generally treated like glorified babysitting by the school that calls you in. You aren’t expected to do much. Often you are just sitting there while you watch kids take a test or do preassigned work. For the effort that is expected of you the pay is almost criminally high but I’m not about to bite the hand that feeds me via blog.

It took a few classes to get used to the situation. Kids often assume you know nothing and make feeble attempts to trick you. I felt imprisoned by the pathetically short “lesson plans” teachers gave me. I would watch students do 10-20 minutes of book work and then legitimately ask, “Can we go?” I didn’t think there was anything reasonable I could do to keep them, I have to follow the plan.

Except I don’t.

If a teacher is not going to bother to write more than a sentence explaining what she wants her students to do than they are effectively giving me the right to lead the class as I see fit. And I did that today.

I had to cover for a teacher’s four Spanish classes today. My experience teaching English overseas last year has given me a lot of insight into activities that help students learn language. In one class I was asked to have the kids make flashcards of vocabulary. That would not of gone over well. I had them make a role play with the vocab words then present them to the class. It was a bit above their level but they seemed to enjoy it and I got them practicing for 40 minutes instead of complaining of boredom for 20.  Did I mention I haven’t taken Spanish since 2004?

I’m not subbing for my health. I’m subbing because it is a solid part-time job that gives me fantastic experience with the career I plan to be in. I’ll be darned if I don’t try and make the most of it.

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One thought on “An Epiphany While Subbing…

  1. I was just thinking about subbing today. you’re right, you don’t have to follow some tired old lady’s idea of a lesson. I always wanted to sub so that I could bring a little bit of life to a classroom. so kudos; I’m glad you decided to stick it to the man. (:

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