We’ve all had those days when your normal teacher was out sick, on a field trip, or on vacation and you had a substitute teacher. Some students look forward to those days because they know they won’t be doing anything of importance, others dread the fact that there will be a lot of extra work that needs to be completed before their normal teacher returns. This extra work is the subject of my next blog entry to stay tuned for “When does class work turn into busy work”.
We’ve all had those cool substitutes that do not care and allow the students to do whatever they want as long as the assignment is completed before their teacher returns, basically making classwork into homework. But we’ve also had those substitutes that make sure the work is completed in class and that there is no free time. Both types of substitutes have their advantages and disadvantages.
This last week my host teacher was on vacation and the students had a substitute teacher. The previous Friday before their normal teacher he announced who their substitute would be and the entire class cheered. By Wednesday the following week, it was evident that the students were no longer cheering because they realized that he was putting his foot down to make sure they completed the assigned work.
How do substitute teacher affect the classroom environment?
This really depends on the substitute but in this case, the normal classroom environment was non-existent. The typical routine of students was altered and the students were required to complete a handful of different papers and packets. In the beginning of the week the students were enthusiastic towards this work because they could work at their own pace as long as it was completed by the end of the week and the substitute was really laid back about it. By the end of the day Wednesday, he was no longer laid back and was really beginning to lay down the law, so that the work would be completed by Friday.
You can learn a lot from substitute teachers, you may actually get some really useful tools and personal experiences that will help you somewhere along your own career. But there is one thing that has stuck in my head since I wrote the title and it was a Comedy Central - Key and Peele Substitute teacher because it really emphasizes the importance of keeping you cool in the classroom.