Monday, October 1, 2012

854. There Is No Substitute

Lately I have been a tad bit depressed because both of my sons have eight-months pregnant teachers.  Yes, I am thrilled for these young, beautiful teachers and I am ecstatic for their happy families.  But to be perfectly honest, I am not fully embracing the idea of long-term substitute teachers for my sons. 

They just got into their routines.  They just got acclimated to the teacher’s systems.  They just figured out where the water fountain was. 
And now everything is about to change (probably not the water fountain location though).  A new teacher is going to come in and meet my sons for the first time and try to make sense of everything.  And then in three or four months, the original teacher will be back.  

My sons thrive on consistency.  They love knowing that Monday is macaroni and cheese, Tuesday is soccer practice, and Friday is go out to dinner.  They expect the expected. 
I started to think if we (as adults) suddenly had substitutes in our lives.  What if you went to Starbucks just like you do every day, and instead of Starbucks there was some sort of juice bar inside.  The guy would say, “Yeah, we’re gonna sub out coffee and have orange juice smoothies.  Hope you don’t mind too much, it is just for today and tomorrow, then your regular Starbucks will be back.” 

Or if you walked into work and some random guy in a suit was sitting at your boss’s desk, looking at his watch.  “Hi, you must be MOV.  Your boss will be back the Tuesday after next, but she did leave me this giant folder of new assignments for you.  She said she might need you to work some overtime.  Oh, yeah, she also said no more coming in to work late.”
Or, you go to call your sister and some other woman answers.  “Sorry, Oakley is going to be off for a few days, my name is Stephanie and I will be filling in for her.  Did you want to jump right in with emotional issues from childhood, or would you prefer to fight over money?”

I don’t want to think about it anymore, it is making me mad.  I grab my purse and zip out to my local sandwich place.  I walk up to the counter and place my order: 
“One sub, please.”



  1. Yah, I wouldn't be crazy (funny word coming from me, huh,) about having subs for my kids. Having teachers that click with kids is a dice roll anyway and then you get two more throws in there. Not terribly good planning on your kids teachers parts. Yes, I realize that was a bitchy thing to say but really they had all summer to have a baby. ( any teachers reading this...kidding...sort of)

  2. As a former teacher I can tell you that teachers hate being out too. Not only because we know our students crave consistency but also because despite leaving detailed plans more often than not work isn't done. I've known teachers who've left in the middle of the year and their replacement never gained control or felt confident in the classroom because the kids fought it so much. Granted I was in middle school and there is a slight difference in elementary, but still, I can completely understand where you are coming from!

  3. A difficult situation, indeed. Having been a "sub" myself, I know it's not the best position. The kids don't know you, you don't know them, everything is topsy-turvy. Hopefully the teachers in this situation have left well-prepared instructions, game plans, etc. And, let's hope the "guest teachers" have their collective acts together. In other words, GOOD LUCK!

  4. My grade 7 science teacher left in March, and her replacement sucked at controlling the class and moving through material at a decent pace. :(

  5. I know how much that truly sucks the big one. My youngest had a brand spanking new teacher, fresh out of college, in the first grade. It was apparent within 2 weeks that this woman was not meant for teaching. The second grade teacher was alarmed at the constant screaming, (the teacher's) coming through the walls all day long. The replacement teacher lasted three months until she was in a serious car accident and couldn't come back to teaching. The next teacher stayed for a whole month and a half until her husband's company transferred them out of state. Thankfully, the last teacher stuck. My poor baby had four teachers in her first year of big kid school.

    I'm sorry for your boys. I hope their subs are kind professionals who can ease them gracefully into the transition. Good luck!

  6. I sincerely and truly feel for you. Depending on the kid, the transition can be difficult. Hopefully the long-term sub will be able to come in for a few days before taking over, so at least the kids will get to know her a bit.

    True (and only slightly related) story: a parent actually put up her hand during open house one year and asked me - OUT LOUD - if I was planning on getting pregnant that year. I was absolutely flabbergasted. Seriously...who would ask that? Think it - sure, absolutely! If I had kids, then of course I'd want my kids to have the same teacher all year. But I can't even begin to fathom actually publicly asking a woman if she was planning on having kids. So weird.

    That said, the setup is better here in Canada. We have 12-month maternity leaves, so a child will only have to transition to a new teacher twice (once in September, and then again when the teachers switch).

  7. I will take the substitute sisters, please. They have to be better than the real ones.


  8. You're right. It would probably be better for it to be consistent for them.

    But at the same time, that's not the way the world works. Life never really goes according to plan. Change-ups and curveballs are always thrown our way, so it might be better for them to get used to it at an early age.


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