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Joseph Kaminski

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November 23, 2017

Substitute Teachers and Relating to Students


To be a successful substitute teacher, one must be able to understand how to balance information alongside reason. One main problem is that in the state of Florida, a part-time substitute teacher only needs an Associate’s Degree. The state tends to keep substitute teachers on a completely different standard of education than the so-called standard ones.

Ideally, a substitute teacher role would be covered by teachers-in-training; however, many tend to fall into the category of people who just don’t have the reasoning to be teachers. 

One thing a teacher has that a substitute teacher doesn’t is time with students. While relationships tend to form between student and teacher, the one-day or one-week substitute teacher doesn’t get the hands-on experience with the kids as individuals. Thus, the substitute doesn’t quite get to understand the students on a level that would allow for a smoother classroom environment. Therefore, it is important for substitute teachers to be able to bypass the fact that they don’t have this sort of relationship with students by having key skills.

Your average substitute teacher.When it comes to education, modern day American classrooms tend to struggle with keeping students interested. In a more modernized and technologically-dependent society, students seem less interested in classes and more interested in free-time.

When their assigned teacher is out for the day, a substitute teacher is oftentimes used as an excuse to do nothing. Substitute teachers, especially those who are untrained or unprepared, usually fail to keep students focused on the tasks at hand.

The most important aspects for substitute teachers to have under their belt when they walk into the classroom are organization, time management, and a general understanding of the school they’re stationed in. The classroom should be set up and the assignments should be understood before the school day even begins.

Getting to the classroom as soon as possible should be a top priority for any substitute; wasted time in the beginning of the early morning class only allows students to distance themselves from the learning environment, leading to any assignment failing to be completed in the allotted time. With organization and time management skills, any first-level substitute teacher can easily prevent bumps in the road from rising.

As for a general understanding of the school itself, a substitute teacher should know the locations of important facilities and people across campus. Knowing the department or office in charge of overall discipline can help in case of emergencies, while knowing the locations of commonplaces such as but not limited to water fountains and bathrooms can smooth a substitute’s travelling distance in between classes as well.

These skills could easily be obtainable through formal training, yet the usual substitute attitude is just to sit back and watch the kids do next-to-nothing. It’s incredibly important for substitute teachers to have more formal training or experience before entering the classroom, as it would allow people within the profession to learn and adopt crucial strategies to keep students interested, engaged, and on task at all times.

If all substitute teachers were required to have formal training before entering the classroom, students would be able to benefit more than ever before during the occasional substitute teacher experience. With limited days in the year, it is important not to waste any time – especially when the usual teacher is out.

Usually, teachers leave assignments ahead of time – either as busywork to keep the students on task with subjects at hand or actual assignments that would keep them up-to-speed with their own syllabi. It’s important for substitute teachers to be able to continue the trend of learning in an environment dedicated to keeping the flow of progress moving forward despite the actual teacher being absent.

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