Substitute teachers, school secretaries and bus drivers are the most underappreciated and underpaid people on the planet. I have not had the terrifying last 2 position in my life, so I can only imagine how difficult they must actually be. I do know when our secretary is out of the office and somehow, I manage to walk in at that exact moment, it is HORRIFYING. All those kids, all those parents, the phone, the disasters.... how can she juggle it all ALL DAY every day. I am trembling before my 90 second tour of duty is over!
I HAVE been a substitute teacher though so when I am gone, I try to assure that their day will be as peaceful as possible. I leave detailed sub plans, almost minute by minute, with always a contingency plan in case something goes awry, which often it does. Computers don't work, kids refuse to cooperate, paper airplanes materialize.....
Having someone in your room when you are gone that you trust, know and respect makes all the difference in the world. Sometimes, it is the luck of the draw, and you get that kindly old retiree who means well, but has not a clue how to deal with middle schoolers so when you return to your room, spitwads adorn the ceiling, the whiteboards are full of caricatures, and the lesson was not even assigned. Other times, you get the young, gorgeous fresh out of college chick who again, means well, but doesn't understand that subbing means a frowny face MAY be appropriate, and saying, "NO" definitely is.
Personally, I love our new system that allows us to choose our favorite 5 subs electronically, giving them first preference for our scheduled dates. How COOL!!! Today, I had a planned day off, and got my top choice of subs. She is a regular, who only subs on Mondays and Friday because she teaches adult ed Tuesday through Friday. This gives her that extra umph needed to align middle school attitudes to accomplish the tasks in front of them. She has a great sense of humor, is intelligent and honest. I know she will not create more chaos than she can handle. It made my day off one of pleasure rather than one of intrepidness. I didn't even feel the need to race to school to read her notes this afternoon! I KNOW things went well :)
Hats off to all the subs out there... you are ALL appreciated but to the really GREAT subs, were it up to me, I would pay you 10 times what you make now, and you would still be underpaid!!
(special smugs to Barb!!)