Why I Substitute Teach


“Would you like to sign up for our substitute teacher list?”

In a few weeks, my one and only was starting school when this question was asked.  I was interested even though I wasn’t sure how my new life would look or what kind of extra time I would have.  And if they called and it did not work with my schedule, I could always pass.

School started and we began adjusting to our new life.  On the fourth week of school, I received the first phone call asking if I could sub in first grade.  Though a tad nervous, I said OK.

With half of the school year behind us, I’ve had the opportunity to substitute numerous times and have taken it several.  I’ve mostly subbed in the lower grades but have also spent time in P.E. and music for all grades so have a little experience in those age groups as well.  

Have you ever considered substituting at your child’s school? Does even the thought of substituting sound crazy?  Whatever your thoughts are on the subject, I wanted to share just a few of the reasons you might consider substitute teaching.

  1. If you ever feel even a tad lack of appreciation for your child’s teachers, go spend a day in his or her shoes.  Teachers have a very demanding job.  Teachers have a very important job.  They really amaze me with how much they accomplish with 15-20 kids.  Day in and day out, teachers make a huge difference in the lives of our children.  Though I am new to this school thing and feeling warm and fuzzy about my child’s teachers or otherwise, subbing keeps the ungrateful part of my heart in check and helps me realize how much our teachers do for us.
  2. When you substitute teach, you get to be the nice teacher.  Seriously, the kids love you.  Or maybe they love the naive, new teacher who does not know exactly what is going on.  I say, “Who cares?!  I will be the cool, new teacher.  But no we cannot push our desks together and make a fort, eat popcorn, call for some ponies and dance.  Yes, I am sure. Even if your real teacher let’s you do this sometimes…let’s get back to the math lesson!”
  3. At one point in my life, I considered teaching as my vocation.  Substitute teaching is really the best of both worlds especially if you have other dreams you’re chasing as I am.  Love them and leave them!  Substituting makes me feel like the grandparent.  The grandparents get to hang out with the grandchildren but when the kids get tired and whiny or sugared up, the grandparents can send them back home.  Subbing has that great quality.  I love my time at the school.  But I also love that I don’t have to go back the next day….unless they call me again, and I say yes.
  4. Substitute teaching sometimes allows you to multitask.  For example, in P.E. one day I decided to join the students in jumping jacks and push ups.  It felt great getting in a workout…and just a tad embarrassing when the boy asked why I was turning red when doing push ups.
  5. When you substitute teach you build relationships with the teachers and staff.  
  6. Maybe I am just nosy overly concerned but another perk of substitute teaching is getting a look at the day to day operations your child experiences.  When Lily started school, I wondered what she did all day. How was the cafeteria?  Where was the music room and what kind of equipment did she get to use in gym?  Substitute teaching gives me an inside view of what my daughter’s day is like.
  7. Speaking of my daughter, substitute teaching gives me glimpses of her living in her new element.  I probably get a little too happy when I see her walk by the door of the class in which I am subbing.  Oh and if I get a little wave too…MAKES MY DAY!  I miss her and I love seeing her! 
  8. Substitute teaching is a paying gig.  Who doesn’t love extra money?!
  9. And finally, I substitute because frankly, the school needs subs!  And the school does not need 20 Pre-K students unattended.  Seriously, teachers get sick.  Teachers have lives outside of school.  Teachers need a break. And I am happy and feel blessed to be able to help out from time to time.

If you’re looking for something fulfilling, entertaining, exciting, and rewarding this year, I encourage you to consider substitute teaching.

And here is a little proof that moms never stop embarrassing you. My mom works at the school where I sub and sometimes sneaks in a photo or two. I always blush when embarrassed. The redness pictured was definitely from embarrassment and not from my straining and being out of shape.