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Does anyone else feel isolated at this job?

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Fractured Fractured is offline
 
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Does anyone else feel isolated at this job?
Old 02-14-2020, 01:40 PM
 
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Itís just this daily pattern of not really knowing anyone. I donít know the teachers or the kids, and most of them are busy with their day and donít want to interact with you. I get that, but it wears thin. Today I am in a school where the teachers donít have classrooms and I have spent a prep period in this deserted teacherís lounge I am often in. I appreciate the time to decompress but I hate going to multiple classrooms in one day and trying to get situated in the few minutes of the passing period.

I donít even really bother with trying to eat with teachers anymore because they usually have their crowd established and I feel like Iím imposing on them, or they just straight up ignore you outside of a hello. Does anyone else deal with this?


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Old 02-14-2020, 02:32 PM
 
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There is one school where I have subbed that some teachers move carts from one room to another. I had to leave during my prep period. This would be extremely unproductive for teachers to have to be constantly moving.

I also don't like moving from one classroom to another and avoid those kinds of jobs. One time I started eating lunch and got a call that I had a class waiting on me. I misread the schedule.
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Old 02-14-2020, 03:58 PM
 
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I definitely feel isolated. Besides the pay and lack of a union, that's the worst part of the job. I have no connection with anybody. I really miss that aspect of teaching. I'm hoping that a position in my background will open up next year, but since there's only one school I really want to work at, the chances are slim.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:38 PM
 
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It is what it is. Thereís a lot I like about subbing but itís just hard to find a sense of belonging. Here one day. Gone the next.
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Absolutely
Old 02-14-2020, 06:40 PM
 
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I find that as substitute teachers we are invisible, it amazes me that teachers who personally text me to sub for them can barely acknowledge Iím in a room especially if itís not their classroom, but itís on campus or in the lunchroom. Subbing is definitely a lonely profession.😢


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Old 02-14-2020, 07:51 PM
 
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Maybe I have been doing high school too long, but most of my middle school experiences have been boring assignments AND tons of defiance and behavior bs on top of that, so Iím not in a hurry to go back. I really like subbing for elective classes like photography or newspaper, but those jobs rarely come up. AP or advanced classes are also usually a good experience, but I think those go to retired teachers most of the time.


I donít know, this job sucks.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:49 PM
 
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Subbing isn't really the type of work to be comfortable in or be idle.It's what you put into it if you want to get to know people. To do the this, you have to be out going. There's no guarantee that you'll meet anybody
anyway. Subs are out of the social circles at schools. If you decide to sub at one school often,then you'll probably get to know more people. If you go from school to school and from district to district each day. then it gets harder. I never take roving positions either. I don't want to read instructions or hear directions from different teachers
five times a day before they go off to their meetings. I am between jobs
as I sub. Yes it can be lonely. On the other hand, it has some plusses.
I've never been hired into a full time teaching job from subbing at a particular school. I'm looking for a regular teaching gig. When I taught full time, I never thought about substitutes. I was very caught up in my job and my own school related problems.
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:06 AM
 
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I totally get how you feel. I've been there too. There have been times when I felt completely invisible. Even when I'm a regular at a school, I don't get to interact with the teachers much. It's mostly the kids that make me feel welcomed and keep me coming back.

These days, I sub only at elementary schools within one district. (I only take full-day jobs and NEVER roving.) As I've gotten to know the schools and some of the kids, I've felt more at home, but when I used to teach for 2 or 3 districts, I felt much less sense of "belonging." Even now, my interactions are usually confined to the office secretaries and the kids.

When I do recess duty alongside another teacher, they will often come up and chat a bit. Strangely enough, that's how I most often meet the full-time teachers at my preferred grade levels (K-2nd). (They will sometimes ask me to sub for them too.)

I admit, I never eat in the break room either. I've tried that a few times, and it never feels comfortable. I've noticed that teachers like to speak (or gossip) openly during lunch break, and having a "stranger" there makes them shut down. I don't take it personally anymore. I just allow us all space and eat in my classroom (a luxury of subbing in elementary), which allows me to unwind and do some prep as well. (Frankly, after a morning of chatty, busy littles, I really welcome the quiet time.)

It's the kids that usually give me the most sense of belonging though. When I return to a school, the kids I've subbed with previously always recognize me and greet me, oftentimes with big hugs. I imagine this is a perk of teaching little kids. Honestly it's the kids that keep me coming back .

I'll also say that I now work for a district that makes a point of making subs feel needed and appreciated. I know the sub supervisor and feel free to call her with any needs or concerns. She's been very helpful and responsive because she wants to keep her subs.

Many of the schools in my district are in lower income areas. Many of the kids are underprivileged and can be a bit rough. It's not everyone's cup of tea for sure, but for me, working with these kids, even if just for a day, can be very rewarding.

These days, I rarely feel lonely when I sub, but that wasn't always the case. Maybe it's a matter of trying different work situations till you find your niche? In my experience, schools and districts can vary quite a bit. Some treat their subs horribly, while others strive to keep subs happy.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 02-15-2020 at 08:49 AM..
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Old 02-15-2020, 08:34 AM
 
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Embarrassingly, when I was a teacher I didn't think much about the subs. Not in a conscious way, but, like you, I had other stuff to think about. I always have 5/5 stars, because I wanted them to come back, but nothing beyond that.

I think, if you work at just one school, and are outgoing, you'll have a lot better luck. They won't go looking for you to talk with. I was invited by a kid to his football game, one time. I wish, now, I would have gone. I wouldn't make a habit of it, but an afterschool activity could have been fun.
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Old 02-15-2020, 03:45 PM
 
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I just hope that I didn't treat subs as poorly as I'm often treated now that I am a sub.


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Old 02-15-2020, 04:50 PM
 
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Even when I did a long-term position, I felt isolated. My department head was very helpful and welcoming, but the teachers on either side of me never came in to introduce themselves. One did come in eventually to borrow tape, but what gives? It was a large high school but are you that busy that you cannot even acknowledge me?
It was particularly striking that on my first day that no one from administration came into my class to welcome me to the school. I was just a name on the list to them, working for meager pay -105 a day, soon to be replaced by the "real" teacher in 2.5 months.
I decorated my classroom, even put up a word wall, thinking sometime someone from admin was going to come in and observe me. Well, that never happened. Instead I would get a call 2 or 3 times a week to cover for yet another absent teacher usually on a Monday or Friday
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Not exactly...
Old 02-17-2020, 09:41 AM
 
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I occasionally feel disconnected because I'm not always aware of things such as changes in school policy, plans, etc. but that feels (to me, anyway) different than being isolated. It probably helps that I'm a regular sub in a comparatively small school. I also accept the fact that we're all pretty busy so there's not usually much time for extended conversation.

That said, I do find I have to cope with the disconnected feeling--particularly if I haven't been at school for a while. I find it's not hard to connect with the kids--it's mostly a matter of being interested in them and what they are doing--even if I'm subbing in their class that day.

I also attend afterschool activities... not so much sports (too many games, etc.) but academic events and music concerts. I probably should also note that I'm focused on elementary and middle school. Relationships at the high school level tend to be more distant (I joke that I'm not as cool) but there's some carryover. I think most would agree that connecting with high school kids is a real challenge--for a lot of different reasons. But after they graduate, I seem to get cool again. I had a recent graduate grab me in a store the other day to talk about writing and publishing a book.
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Old 02-18-2020, 11:11 AM
 
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As an introvert, I enjoy being alone most of the time. I eagerly avoid the staff room any time I can.

But subbing can be lonely in the same way a big city can: A lot of people around you at all times, but you don't know anyone, and are typically ignored.

Camaraderie is difficult to create as a substitute.

What's ironic is how the children tend to want to talk to me a lot more than other teachers do.
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Old 02-18-2020, 03:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Does anyone else feel isolated at this job?
If you think about it, many regular teachers are isolated in their jobs. I see many teachers who have very little interaction with other teachers for varying reasons. I've subbed for teachers where I see very few teachers during the day. It can be because of the location of the classroom and/or the other teachers in neighboring rooms. I've seen situations where a group of teachers have their own clique and have minimal interaction with other teachers in their general proximity. In some schools, few teachers eat lunch in the faculty room. I have found in many schools, I don't have time to walk back and forth to the faculty room and have time to eat my lunch.
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Old 02-18-2020, 04:04 PM
 
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My favorite thing is when I walk into the teacher's lounge, or pass two teachers talking in the hall, and they immediately change to a whisper. Wouldn't want me to hear anything. . . .
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:55 PM
 
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You're with kids all day....yet, it IS a loney job.
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Old 03-04-2020, 10:05 PM
 
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Definitely. I understand the reasons why, but at a job where taking disrespect for hours on end, it can be pretty disheartening to realize nobody plans on remembering one's name. I generally try to ignore it by focusing on reading when I get downtime, but it's hard not to feel sad when ruminating on it.
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