I've been thinking a lot about substitute teaching the past few days since I'm going back to it next year. Although I was only a sub for about 2 months, I've got quite a few stories from my subbing experience. Some are pretty unbelievable, so I thought I'd share a few. I subbed in two school districts, but know that all of these nightmares happened at the SAME school district where I ended up working for two years as a special ed. aide. Let me just say, it was not an easy school to work at!
I once subbed in the kindergarten classroom that was so bad, I literally spent the entire day chasing kids around and screaming. It was the worst class I've ever seen. I spent my lunch break sobbing uncontrollably, and cried the whole way home that day. I was in shock that a class could act like that.
I got called to sub in that same class a few other times while I was working as an aide (the school district used to pull me from my job so I could sub. It was annoying). One day a particular little boy in that classroom got really mad at me because I had asked him to pull a card (this is the school's unified disciplinary system). He got so angry, he started running around the classroom, throwing things, knocking over tables, etc. It was terrifying. I called the principal right away, and she took him away. But told me next time, "Please try to keep him in the classroom if at all possible. If he starts to melt down, we usually let him hide under a table because it helps him to calm down." I'm sorry, but that type of behavior is not only unacceptable, but it's unsafe for the other students! What good does it do to try to keep him in the classroom when he's so volitole and violent? I still don't get it :-P
My very first day subbing at this particular school district, I was bringing a first grade class back to their classroom after music. As we were in the hallway, the fire alarm went off. the whole school went outside, and no one had seemed to know about the drill. We were all surprised when we saw actual fire trucks pulling into the school parking lot. Later that day, I found out that one of the students in MY first grade class for the day, had pulled the alarm while in the hallway. And yes, there was a police report about the incident in the local paper. I felt like I was going through some kind of cruel initiation or something!
I successfully tried my hand at being in two places at once when the school district had me sub for the lady I share a room with. To understand why this is crazy, you have to know that I was hired to be with the third grader special ed. students while the other teacher is with the fourth graders, and vice versa. So you see why this wouldn't work. I had to run around the school like a crazy woman with no breaks trying to do BOTH of our jobs at the same time. And they asked me to do this more than once when the teacher couldn't make it to work. If you asked me, I think I should have gotten paid as a sub and as an aide those days, because I was really doing both jobs! ;-)
Once while I was subbing for the teacher I mentioned above, I was leading a reading group for third grade special ed. There was one little boy in particular who was being very uncooperative. He asked to use the restroom, and I immediately said yes, thinking that a walk down the hall might help him to get rid of some of his excess energy, and maybe give the rest of us a little break too! The little boy was taking an especially long time, and I started to get worried. I sent another boy to go check on him while the rest of us continued the lesson. The boy I sent DID find the other boy. He was in the hallway being scolded by the principal, because he had apparently decided it was a good idea to take all of his clothes off while in the restroom, and dance around.
I think that's enough for today, but trust me when I say I have plenty more stories! Needless to say, I will not be subbing at that particular school district again. This year I plan on subbing at a Christian school in the area, which I'm really excited about! Also, I'm going to sub at the other school I used to sub at...I loved it there! And also the school where I did my student teaching. I loved it there, too. I think that after some of my experiences in the school where I subbed for 2 months and worked for 2 years, I can handle ANYTHING that those other schools could throw at me. I'm pretty excited to be away from so much stress. Although I'm sure I'll still have stories to share some days. Anyone who works with elementary students knows that there are often strange, funny, and crazy things going on in a classroom!