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luv2teach2017's Message:

After reading some recent posts, I began to feel depressed. So many of those posting refer to subbing as a "thankless" job (among other complaints). I had to think about that a bit.

Yes, I agree that subbing lacks status or prestige, doesn't pay well, and there are no health or vacation leave benefits. I'll also agree that we subs can be seriously mistreated at times. But is it really "thankless"? Not in my experience.

I've had many other jobs in the past. Some of them were well paying corporate positions. However, the most thankless jobs I've had have been the most well paying. Jobs where I sit in a cubicle facing a computer screen all day long, interspersed with the occasional dull, lifeless team meetings, not to mention the vicious office politics. I abandoned that work because it was soul crushing.

In my later semi-retirement years, I've taken to subbing, something I never thought I'd do. Why do I sub? Because I love to teach. I tried all the K-12 grades, and found my niche in the younger grades (k-3rd). Mainly because the younger kids are still fresh, enthusiastic, excited with life, responsive, AND openly appreciative. Oftentimes, they say I'm their favorite sub and ask me when I'll be coming back to teach them. No matter how demanding my day has been, it inevitably ends with plenty of hugs and thank yous from the little ones (and the occasional smile and thank you from a parent too).

If I were looking for a big pay raise, promotion, or pat on the back from the boss, I'd never be happy as a sub. But I'm there because teaching is what I love to do, and I enjoy the kids I teach (most of them anyway ). That's my take on it. Just wanted to offer a different perspective.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Emmy 01-12-2018 06:39 PM

I知 a certified sub who subs at the school where I retired.

I taught primary and intermediate from Grades 1-5 and Reading Plus ( an intervention program that I wrote and taught ).

I love subbing. I also volunteer at the Intermediate.

I mostly sub at the MS. It is so easy. I知 appreciated and respected by administrators, teachers, and kids.

I知 not driven by money and it is a good thing. A certified sub receives $65 a day. Non-certified receive $55 a day.

If I had some of the issues that I read about, I知 not sure that I would keep on doing it.

I知 happy as a lark and wish everyone could have such a seamless day.

MaineSub 12-24-2017 03:57 AM

Spot on! I know a sub who recently posted a photo on Facebook of the mittens and hat she knitted while subbing (by her own admission)... She got some compliments on her handiwork, but didn't do much for our profession or the next school budget and probably won't get a heap of appreciation from admin or the teacher she subbed for...

readnteach13 12-23-2017 05:21 AM

I am lucky that the principal and assistant principal at the school where I usually sub personally thank me after EVERY sub job I take. They will drop by the classroom and thank me and make sure that the students are being respectful. The teachers are always appreciative as well.
I have had a few kids too big for their britches that try to take advantage of having a sub, but I know the rules and I always have a few good helper students to back me up and say things like "You KNOW you would never do that if Miss. A were here!".
In my experience, teachers want good, reliable subs who follow their plans. The only time I have heard negative talk about a sub is when the sub completely disregarded the plans, and showed an inappropriate movie or played the harmonica all day .

Sirsubalot 12-21-2017 05:17 AM

Today was the 89th day of school, but the first day there was no job available for me.

I can't help wondering that if a Spectrum tech did not accidently cut my line Sunday, that I might have had a job for today scheduled in advance.

I will never know, but if anyone should lose $150, it should be the tech.

Such is the nature of subbing.

KatrynG 12-21-2017 02:21 AM

This Board allows us to vent and get our frustrations out, but you'll find many kind-hearted souls here who try to help each other in their responses.

I love this response from MaineSub:

Quote:
I agree with Abraham Lincoln who said, "Most people are about as happy as they've decided to be..." When I started doing this, I adopted a philosophy that I think has helped keep a difficult job fun.
And I love Sirsubalot's perspective, too.
Quote:
I have never felt directly belittled, disrespected, or ignored from being a sub, but we are indirectly disrespected simply from our low pay, and little recourse when we are wronged.
Subbing can be fun and difficult at the same time! We have to choose to be positive, especially during Christmas when many people don't feel cheerful... for a multitude of reasons.

I choose to follow Abraham Lincoln and be happy!
luv2teach2017 12-20-2017 10:46 PM

Isn't appreciation the same as thanks? Sounds like you experience appreciation as a sub. I'm glad you feel you are contributing and adding value as you teach. That is saying a lot.

Subinnc 12-20-2017 03:33 PM

I stand by my statement on another thread that subbing can be a thankless job. It can!! We're the low people on the school system totem pole, we are poorly paid, we don't get sick days or benefits, and we ARE under appreciated and taken for granted a lot of the time.

That's not to say I don't love it. I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it. Of course there are rough days that feel like I'm struggling each hour just to keep order, let alone teach them something, but those days are fairly few and far between. For me, the good days far outweigh the bad days. When I leave school, I hope to have made a difference, ever how small, in some child's life. That's why I do this. It's not about money or appreciation, it's about the kids. I am rewarded when a kid says, "Why can't you teach us full time? You make math easy and fun instead of hard and boring." I wouldn't get that satisfaction sitting a desk somewhere answering phones.

It's possible to love a "thankless" job just like it's possible to hate a high paying job where your coworkers and superiors heap adoration and appreciation on you. It's about doing a job that you get satisfaction from.

sophia981 12-20-2017 09:29 AM

If you love teaching, you will find a solution. Don't give up.

Ima Teacher 12-20-2017 05:03 AM

Every job comes with challenges.

I've always tried to make the best of whatever the situation. It makes my life so much easier.

subasaurus 12-20-2017 12:51 AM

I kind of have a few different takes.

Yes, it can be thankless for me...

When you're treated not so nicely by other staff, students, and admin.

On the other hand, some days it can truly be a rewarding job...

Like when the students actually behave and learn something, or when school staff acknowledge your hard work.

Basically for me it depends upon the school's attitude as a whole, or the little moments.

There's something nice about going back to a school to sub and the kids remember you and say "it's our favorite sub!" But don't let that get to your head too much, it's not always to your advantage to be "the cool sub."

Special education is great if you appreciate helping students who need support and guidance. Mind you, there can be some rough days in sped classrooms, just like any classroom.

I think on the days where we are there to be "warm bodies" it's difficult to not feel like a babysitter or rent-a-security guard. Like when students are acting immature just to stress us out, or when you're on cafeteria duty for two hours. (Ugh.) And if the office or other teachers aren't really offering up much support it can make a sometimes difficult job TWICE as hard.

I'll leave you with a happy story.

My favorite day of all time was when I worked with a boy (with severe challenges) who remembered me and yelled out to everyone: "Who's that?! (Gasp!) It's Mr. M!!!!!" He then started smiling and dancing with joy like he'd won the lottery.

No other job has provided me with that kind of feeling of being appreciated. It was the happiest I'd ever seen a child before. It was like I was Santa. Lol.

Subbing can be a joke at times, no question, and the disrespect can be disheartening...

But the little moments, like the one I mentioned, can make it worthwhile and fulfilling.

MaineSub 12-19-2017 11:37 PM

Quote:
But I'm there because teaching is what I love to do, and I enjoy the kids I teach (most of them anyway...)
Me too! Frankly, I have trouble understanding the "thankless job" label... I too have worked in a number of different environments over the years, but never one where I felt the sense of accomplishment and contribution as I do when I sub. I agree with Abraham Lincoln who said, "Most people are about as happy as they've decided to be..." When I started doing this, I adopted a philosophy that I think has helped keep a difficult job fun.

I sub because I'm obsessed with teaching and learning and I love the opportunities. Some of the best ones happen not when I'm standing in front of the class. I teach during recess... while walking down the hall. Most the kids know Mr. B's "rule number two" -- we are going to enjoy learning. My job is not to take the joy out of learning. I am not there to manage kids; I am there to manage learning. The kids (most of them anyway) help me with it.

A few years ago someone on this forum posted a reply directed at me saying, "You don't live in the real world." I was reminded of the joke, "I live in my own little world but at least everybody there likes me."

I remember standing with a teacher once at the back of her room... the kids were all working, it was orderly and quiet. The teacher said to me, "You know we are teaching future doctors and lawyers... maybe even a future president." I smiled in agreement, then she added, "and probably a criminal... maybe even a murderer." She was joking but not--that's perspective certainly. I know her well as a colleague and she does work hard at teaching kids who have a positive future. We also know that what and how we teach does have an impact on how they turn out. Most adults can remember small incidents in their lives that made a huge difference. We get lots of opportunities to create them. I love that this thread has triggered some reports of just how great this job can be.

I do get the value of venting... but try to stay off the threads where that seems to be the point. I like the threads that are about solving problems. I occasionally try to offer a humorous incident... (see the recent post about sight reading). When the kids whine (for example) that they hate math, I suggest that we get it done quickly, I don't agree that it sucks... or, in some cases, try to find ways to make it more enjoyable. (I could write a book complaining about math curriculum, but I'm not in charge of writing curriculum. I'm there to teach.) Sometimes when we have a difficult or unpleasant task I say, "No smiling!" Then I pick a kid and get right in his/her face and keep repeating, "Don't smile! No!" (I make faces if they seem to be succeeding in not smiling.) Usually, they will break out laughing and the laughter is contagious.

I think teaching kids to laugh is part of the job. That same teacher has admitted to me that when she knows she's going to be out, she doesn't tell the kids I'm going to be the sub. "They seem too happy," she jokes. "And it would be easy to think they like you more than me.' She's kidding, but she's also demonstrating perspective.
Sirsubalot 12-19-2017 04:44 PM

I have never felt directly belittled, disrespected, or ignored from being a sub, but we are indirectly disrespected simply from our low pay, and little recourse when we are wronged.

This week is an example.

I just got my internet repaired tonight after it was down for over two days.

I learned that a tech who was out on Sunday had accidently cut my line.

I was lucky to get a job via the phone, because the chances are greatly lessened with no internet.

Therefore, because someone else goofed, I could have lost $150.

Nearly every other job only results in losing a sick day, not income

This unique unfairness comes with the territory.

What is more disturbing is that when someone else forgets to cancel our job, or puts it in for the wrong day, we lose the income. I have lost hundreds due to this.

Of course the person who makes the error suffers zero consequences.

In short, the direct disrespect has been minimal. the indirect disrespect has been great.

luv2teach2017 12-19-2017 04:31 PM

I understand what you mean. I'm not trying to gloss over the difficulties of subbing. There are many.

But after working for over 40 years at various jobs, I've found that every job has a downside. It's about doing something you love. That's what makes the bad stuff tolerable.

In my case, I'm older and semi retired. If I were young, I would complete a full credential and find a fulltime elementary teaching position. But that's not feasible for me now. So subbing allows me to teach...and I have the benefit of autonomy and scheduling flexibility. My day is done by 3pm, and my weekends are free (no papers to grade or lessons to prepare). I can also take on other jobs for variety and more income.

It's not for everyone. But for me, subbing has been a rich and rewarding experience with plenty of challenges to keep me interested. As long as i enjoy it, I will continue to sub.

Tapdancesub 12-19-2017 02:38 PM

I've felt that you're only as good as your last time in a class. I have a school that I have consistently subbed in for the past 10 years. I get many requests from this school. Last spring I accepted a job for the first grade from you know where. The job was Monday, Tuesday. I had spent most Of the weekend with a dying aunt and in hindsight should have cancelled the job. Needless to say the two days did not go well. The future days I had booked with this teacher were cancelled with no explanation. The many years I've covered her classes counted for nothing. I did not even get the courtesy of being allowed to explain. This woman has a big mouth and now teachers I have covered for many years will not call me. Fortunately the upper grades in the school still call me regularly. So yes, in many respects this is a thankless job.

Mikhail 12-19-2017 12:33 PM

I can see why this job can be underappreciated. What worked for me is when I leave notes with the regular teachers after some duty by e-mail. Sometimes they would respond with a simple thanks and life goes on. Other forms of thanks is when they invite you back to sub for them. And like you've experienced, students express their appreciation through comments like "I wish you're here everyday" or "you're the best sub!" comments. You need to cherish and hold those moments into memory because there will be days when it's otherwise. I don't mean to sound like I want you to change your outlook but the reality is because the job can be so isolating and so fraught with so many unknowns not many substitute teachers want to stay doing this job for good especially if you're young. It's a difficult job.

mooba1 12-19-2017 08:59 AM

Quote:
If I were looking for a big pay raise, promotion, or pat on the back from the boss, I'd never be happy as a sub. But I'm there because teaching is what I love to do, and I enjoy the kids I teach (most of them anyway ).
You'll find that almost every sub on this board feels the same way, but sometimes we just need a place to blow off steam. It's also that time of year where people are stressed and tired, and often literally sick and tired.

Granted, we do tend to joke about having a "real" job so we can take hour-long lunches and take off work without a care, b/c it will just be sitting on our desk waiting when we return. Your post reminds us that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence, though we like to think so at times.

I'm glad you're enjoying sub life and have found your niche.
Sublime 12-19-2017 07:29 AM

I agree. I love subbing and working in different classrooms and meeting lots of kids. And sometimes on those impossible days you get a little positive reinforcement from just one of them: I worked 2 days in a rowdy 2nd grade recently. I worked hard to stay patient and positive. When I "set the students free" to work on math problems they were very noisy and I saw a little boy in the farthest seat sitting quietly crying. I went to sit next to him; he was having a tough time doing the "new" subtraction, which involved number lines and addition. After 5 minutes of helping him, in which I had to ignore the noise from the rest of the class, he was able to complete the page on his own. That was my gift for the day.

kahluablast 12-19-2017 07:12 AM

I think we tend to get into a grind and have trouble seeing outside of that box, so I appreciate your comments.

I hope the people who often sub at our school (we are a little isolated, so have the same group typically, year to year) feel appreciated. I know that even though we sometimes grumble because they don't follow our plans, or kids are a little wack a doo after having a sub, we do appreciate being able to have a day away from the classroom for whatever reasons. I appreciate that we don't have to take kids from other classrooms when teachers are absent, and that isn't possible without subs.

I know that we invite subs to treats or meals when they are with us for a day. We try to invite them into conversations during lunch, if they come in and eat.

Thanks for the different perspective. We can all benefit from hearing that from time to time. I have worked many different jobs, and they all have some things in common. One being they all have things that make them bearable and unpleasant. Those things are just different. I am happy to work with kids every day.

luv2teach2017 12-19-2017 06:56 AM

After reading some recent posts, I began to feel depressed. So many of those posting refer to subbing as a "thankless" job (among other complaints). I had to think about that a bit.

Yes, I agree that subbing lacks status or prestige, doesn't pay well, and there are no health or vacation leave benefits. I'll also agree that we subs can be seriously mistreated at times. But is it really "thankless"? Not in my experience.

I've had many other jobs in the past. Some of them were well paying corporate positions. However, the most thankless jobs I've had have been the most well paying. Jobs where I sit in a cubicle facing a computer screen all day long, interspersed with the occasional dull, lifeless team meetings, not to mention the vicious office politics. I abandoned that work because it was soul crushing.

In my later semi-retirement years, I've taken to subbing, something I never thought I'd do. Why do I sub? Because I love to teach. I tried all the K-12 grades, and found my niche in the younger grades (k-3rd). Mainly because the younger kids are still fresh, enthusiastic, excited with life, responsive, AND openly appreciative. Oftentimes, they say I'm their favorite sub and ask me when I'll be coming back to teach them. No matter how demanding my day has been, it inevitably ends with plenty of hugs and thank yous from the little ones (and the occasional smile and thank you from a parent too).

If I were looking for a big pay raise, promotion, or pat on the back from the boss, I'd never be happy as a sub. But I'm there because teaching is what I love to do, and I enjoy the kids I teach (most of them anyway ). That's my take on it. Just wanted to offer a different perspective.




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