CHAPTER 1 - THE TYPICAL DAY OF A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER

BBBBBZZZZZTTTTT!!!!! The Substitute's day begins as the alarm clock goes off at 4:30 a.m. The Sub rises out of bed, sinks into the shower. After the shower ritual, the Substitute dresses. The male Sub dresses in Suit and Tie, and the female Sub wears nice clothes. The Sub prepares a paper bag lunch. Half-way through the lunch preparation, the Sub is interrupted by a phone ring. The Substitute immediately picks up the phone. "Hello!", says the voice on the other end of the line. The voice belongs to "The Gatekeeper". "Do you want a position at Roosevelt High, or Fair Oaks Elementary?" the Gatekeeper asks. "I'll take the High School, please". "O.K.", answers the Gatekeeper. "I have you at Roosevelt High. You will be substituting for Ms. Greene, who teaches Algebra." You hang up the phone. The substitute's day has begun: today you will be an Algebra Teacher.

 

Your arrival at the school is an easy one. You have substituted at this school before, so you know where the school is located. You enter the main office, where your equipment is given to you: keys to the room, lesson plans which were made by the absent Teacher, a folder describing school procedures and special instructions. The next place you go is to the absent Teacher's "mailbox", where you pick up any remaining equipment.

You continue to the absent Teacher's room. It is still early, and students are scarce. You enter the room, making sure to lock the door behind you. There are additional instructions on the absent Teacher's desk, telling you to make 100 copies of the CHAPTER 7 - TEST REVIEW.

Before doing this chore, you look in the folder that was given to you. You look for the emergency exit route. From the folder information, you also see whether or not you need to be a hall monitor for the absent Teacher, and any other information the school wants you to know. Also, you look at room numbers on the roll sheets to see if you change rooms during the day. After looking through this information, you put the words "TEST REVIEW DAY - PROBLEMS 1-4 ON PAGE 178/Work Alone" on the chalkboard. Then you make your copies.

BBBBBZZZZZTTTTT!!!!! The starting bell has rung, and there are sleepy eyed students walking the hall. Surprisingly, a bright-eyed student enters the class, and is oblivious to the fact that she has a Substitute Teacher today. "What are we doing today?", the eager student asks. "Today we review for your test!". Pause. "So, how is this class"? You are quite aware that this student will highlight the class's bad and the good (in that order).

In the middle of your one minute conversation, you ask this student, "How does your Teacher handle discipline problems?" "There are none!, the student answers. "Why's that?", you ask. You begin to notice other students outside the door with great big smiles on their faces: they must know that they have a Substitute Teacher today. "All that you have to do is say 'Study Time', and I guarantee you that they will stop!".


Sometimes the Substitute has to go with blind faith, rather than analytical reasoning.


As the students file into the room, you tell them, "Do the assignments on the board. You have 10 minutes, and then we'll go over it. After that, I have a handout for you to do." Meanwhile, this allows you some free time to take roll. "Welcome to Algebra Class. Ms. Greene couldn't be here today, so I'll be your Substitute Teacher. My name is Mr. Sturgeon." Pause. "All right, let's go over the problems on the chalkboard."

During your Test Review, there is a group of students in the back of the room causing a commotion. You stop class and look at these students. Your glance is enough to stop them, but only temporarily. It's time to move a student. "Please move here". You point to a seat in the front row. "If there is any further infractions, you will be sent out. While moving seats, the class now is laughing and talking. Time for the heavy artillery: "STUDY TIME". There is complete silence, accompanied by looks of surprise.

The rest of the class is very manageable. Also are the other classes, as this sequence is repeated throughout the day for most classes.

When your day ends and the students leave, your job continues until the room is at least as clean as when you entered. Today, the Test Review papers were taken home by students, but had there been homework, you would have graded it, as long as you were confident that you knew the subject.


This has been a typical day for the Substitute Teacher - nothing out of the ordinary has happened today. Some days are better than today, and some days are worse.


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