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March 17, 2009 at 7:03 am #7374mike wMember
I am currently working on an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership but feel like I need to get classroom experience. I was initially an Education major in my undergrad but due to other circumstances I switched to Psychology. So I would like to pose to you, gentlemen of the jury for your consideration, the following;
I have recently been entertaining the idea of substitute teaching. I’ve done some preliminary research and have found both pros and cons…but then again, everything has pros and cons. Anyway, I would love to hear feedback about experiences with substitute teaching and survival tips. I understand there isn’t much in the way of support for subs, or preparation; nevertheless, any input would be valued.
March 29, 2009 at 6:56 pm #7501MrGMember
Hi Mike. This is actually my first post here and I think I can offer you some insight. I started my teaching career as a sub at a small rural elementary school with ~200 kids total. I worked there for 3 school years and being such a small community I worked a LOT. After all that time, I knew every child in the school by name and they all knew me since I’d taught in every single classroom in every grade level at least a few times. It was very rewarding and a lot of fun, really! I was sad to leave there, but I gained a lot of good practical experience, not only with the kids but also with the ins and outs of a school’s bureaucracy and various procedures.
I’d very much recommend subbing to gain classroom experience. In fact, I wish every teacher was *required* to sub for a while, at least to see what it’s like. After being a sub for a while, you may actually find teaching in a classroom of your own to be easier (I certainly did).
If you’d like something more stable that will still get you a lot of good experience in the classroom, it’s not hard to become a paraprofessional and work as a teacher’s assistant for a year.
Elementary Computer Teacher
May 3, 2009 at 4:33 am #7499vincegonMember
I am working on my Masters Degree in Education after changing careers. For the first year, I was a substitute in my local school system (Urban – 3000+ students) working from Pre K to 12. Having this experience I found that my comfort zone was is Pre K to 6. This year I am a Reading First Paraprofessional in an elementary school and I am very happy. This opportunity came to me because I was exposed to the administration and they came to me when the position was available. Had I not been a substitute, I may not have realized this and I am sure I would have gone back into the business world and not pursued my passion for teaching.
Here is my only caution… If you work in a very large system like I have, substitute teaching can be very challenging for many of the reasons you have stated. I found substitute teaching rewarding because you will experience all types of behavior and challenges. It will cause you to reflect if teaching is the right choice for you or not, because if you can survive substitute teaching, you can survive anything. Remember, if you are in a challenging school district, the kids will more than likely be VERY unruly, this will truly test you!
May 3, 2009 at 5:21 am #7503palmharborMember
I beg to differ. Here in Florida where few men are hired, when you come to a school where there are no male teachers you are looked at as an “intruder” and they are monitoring you like a hawk…..as they view you with concern. That was my experience and for the eleven dollars an hour they pay it was not worth it.
May 3, 2009 at 6:48 am #7497egidsegMember
Substitue teaching will do three things for you (unless you have an experience like the fellow from Florida). It will give you valuable classroom experience, especially classroom management skills. Without these skills there is no way to be a successful teacher. Second, it will allow you to view a range of grade levels and give you a sense of where you belong. Thirty odd years ago I thought that I was going to be a high school teacher of english. After subbing for a kindergarten teacher I recognized my true love and calling and have been a kindergarten teacher since then (having pursued a masters in ECE). Third, you will get to network with teachers, get inside information and, hopefully, impress administrators with your skill as a teacher.
Eric Gidseg, Ph.D.
Pleasant Valley, NY
May 4, 2009 at 6:58 am #7495billnrvaMember
Upper Elementary Pre-Service Teacher
I have worked off and on as a sub for several years while completing my M. Ed. I will be starting my full-time teaching career this coming fall and believe my experience to be invaluable. I share stories with kids about students in other schools (sometimes slightly embellished) such as “You guys are better at multiplication than the fourth graders at another school” or “That behavior reminds me why I want to teach upper elementary school instead of kindergarten.” Bottom line is that substituting is good, practical experience and provides you with fodder for teachable moments.
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