Trials and Tribulations

So, now that I’m subbing full time (Bwahahahahahahaha! See what I did there? I was all like, “Now that I’m subbing full time…” and it’s funny because no substitute teachers ever get to sub full time. Ever. The “real” teachers are ALWAYS there. Even if they are giving birth or suffering from Ebola. They never leave. It really puts a dampers on the whole “full time work” thing. *sigh* )

I’m sorry… I digress. But now that I’ve been subbing on a semi-occasional basis, I have learned a few things about subbing in your hometown.

  1. You will inevitably be teaching former classmates’ and friends’ kids all the time. Always. I have yet to be in a classroom where at least one child was not the progeny of a former classmate. It’s weird. Especially since you still have not fully grasped just how old you are, and you’re looking at a 2nd grader wondering, “How the heck did your mother have you at the age of 8?” And then you realize… you are old, and not just out of high school, and most self-respecting reproductively-able adults have children in elementary school and you are the weird one because you do not.
  2. At some point, no matter how well-behaved you think your small-town, Stepford children are, someone will haul off and smack someone else. In the head, or in the stomach. Doesn’t matter. And you will never find out if it is because of some long-standing feud between families that they are avenging, or if it’s just because their chicken nuggets are cold. But at some point, somewhere, somehow, someway, someone WILL get physical, and you are left picking up the pieces and looking like the dumb-ass sub who let it happen.
  3. Somewhere along the way, a child will get sick. And not just, “Mer. I don’t feel good…” whiny, kind of sick. The full-blown, “I need a garbage can NOW!” sick and they will blow chunks hopefully IN the garbage can, but probably not before they make it to the nurse’s office. And you will have to pretend like it doesn’t bother you. And you will have to give them a comforting hug, all the while thinking, “I swear to God, Child… if you get me sick, you WILL atone for it.”
  4. There will be a teacher who is so scatter-brained and SOOOOO busy, that they can’t possibly put any sub plans together so you’re forced to wing it… or at least a good portion of it. And all you hear for the rest of the day is, “But that’s not how Mrs. Scatter-Brain does it!” and you want to scream, “Well, Mrs. Scatter-Brain didn’t give me anything to go on, so shut up, buckle up and get ready for the roller coaster ride that is going to be your day!”
  5. You will, at some point, run into a former teacher. Sometimes, if you are lucky and they are at a distance, and you really aren’t comfortable revealing your identity just yet, you can avoid the whole “recognition, awkward conversation of what you’ve been up to” scenario by staring off in the distance, seemingly preoccupied with other things and pretending not to see them.  This way, they’re not sure if they’ve seen you either and no confrontation takes place. Then you heave a sigh of relief, knowing that you will probably have to put on the same act a few days from now, and you know it would just be easier to be all, “Hi! How are you?! Look how big and grown up I am!”, but you are avoiding it because you are a big, wimpy idiot.
  6. You will constantly feel judged. Because you’re doing things differently, or the kids are too noisy in the hallway, or you went down the stairs on the wrong side, or you didn’t know what the hell you were doing during “centers” and the paras are glaring at you, like, “What the hell? Are you drunk?” and you’re all like… “I’m just trying to hold it together and I have NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS but can you PLEASE leave the disapproving looks at home and pretend like I’m not a total moron? PLEASE?!”
  7. You will come home totally exhausted because you’re sure the kids hate you, you’re afraid the “real” teacher thinks you messed up her kids, the paras think you’re a moron and you’re already so plagued with self-doubt and confidence issues because of your impending divorce that you’re not really sure what’s real and what you made up in your head that all you can do is gorge on pizza rolls and take a nap. Life is hard.
  8. You will finally come to the realization of just how hard a sub’s life is, and you will never, EVER again judge them for doing things differently, or not covering the full lesson, or leaving you 15 and a half pages of notes of questions and behavioral concerns. Because you have been there. And you have a whole new respect for their job.
  9. I have no number nine. I just don’t like the number 8. So, I thought I’d throw this in there. Because I’m tricky like that.

*sigh*  Subbing is hard. And a lot of fun. With a lot of risks. And some rewards. And now I have to go pop a dozen or so Vitamin C tablets so I don’t get sick from whatever my little pukey friend was carrying around with her. I hope it’s not Ebola.


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