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Thoughts Every Substitute Teacher Has While Subbing

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

By Haley PetersonPublished 4 years ago 8 min read

Have you every wondered what your teacher is really thinking? What about your substitute teacher? As a former teacher, now stay-at-home-mom, and current sub, I think I have experienced nearly all of the struggles of subbing. As a sub, you never know what you are walking into or how the day is going to go. Sometimes it is a fun adventure and other times you are counting the minutes until your day is over. Continue on to read an example of some of the thoughts likely to run through a substitute teacher's head on a given day.

On the way to school...

Where is this school? Let me check my GPS.

25 minute drive? That's not too bad, I guess. At least I'll be making good money. Ha! I crack myself up.

Agh! What time is it? I better get going.

Mmmm Starbucks. Do I have time to stop? Not really. But I am educating young minds today. I deserve coffee! Plus, I'm a better teacher on caffeine.

Go in or drive thru? Ummm.. technically I don't have to get there until 8:30. I shouldn't be late. I won't get lost. Probably. What's faster anyway? Going in or the drive thru? Usually going in. But do I want to get up?

Decisions, decisions. Okay, parking it is.

How many drinks is this guy ordering? Seven pumps of vanilla? Really? Gross.

You're getting food too? Come on! I have young minds to enlighten today!! Move it, move it!

Okay, my turn.

Mmmm... worth it.

Okay, it's 8:15 a.m. and I'm 17 minutes away. Mmmm.. still worth it. Please, God, don't let me get lost.

Where the Hell am I? Work, Google maps, work!!

Does this street even exist?

Wait! School zone! I must be close.

Here. Finally. What a great start to the day.

Upon arrival at school...

Here we go. Okay. It's 8:32 a.m. now, so I'm only like five minutes late.

Maybe I should hide my coffee so they don't think I'm irresponsible and chose buying coffee over being on time.

Whatever. Let them judge me. YOLO!

I hope the office manager is friendly.

Um, hi? Who's going to help me?

Changed my mind, I'm holding my coffee down low.

Okay, done checking in. Where is room 34?

Nope, not this way.

Here it is. How many keys did they give me? Ugh.

Getting to the classroom...

By Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

Okay, I'm in. Now, where are the plans?


Phew, found them. Let's see what we've got.

She describes her class a chatty. Fantastic. We all know the "chatty" means extremely loud.

How many kids are in this class anyway? Agh! Too many!!

I'm cool, I'm cool. I can do this.

When is this teacher's prep time? Okay, just gotta make it until lunch, teach a little more, and then I get a break at 1:15 p.m.

I hope they don't ask me to cover another class at 1:15 p.m.

What time is it anyway? Five more minutes.

Alright, I think I understand everything I'm supposed to do this morning.

Where are those keys? Okay, let's do this.

The start of the school day...

These first few kids look nice. Please be nice to me today. I only make $12.50 an hour.

Which one of you is give me a hard time today?

You, it's going to be you. Hello, special friend.

Alright, time to introduce myself. Is it weird to feel nervous and concerned about whether or not a 9 year old likes me?

I think they like me and are totally excited about earning the raffle tickets I'm passing out!

Too bad my goodie bag is actually a pile of junk.

Oh yeah, kids love junk. No worries.

I need to take attendance. I hate this part.

I think me warning them that I might say some names wrong helped. How can I not say some of these names wrong?

Okay, time to start math.

This is a little harder than I was thinking it would be.

Did I explain that right?

Do they understand what I'm talking about or are they just pretending?

He's not pretending. That boy is lost. I'll help him in a minute.

I swear I know how to do third grade level math, but everything I thought they would understand they don't and everything I thought they would have trouble with is easy!

Well, I did the best I could. Maybe I should leave a note letting the teacher know there was some confusion.

Moving on...

Great, silent reading! I love reading! I love silence!

What do these kids not understand about the word "silent?"

Oh, you need to use the restroom? Okay.

Oh, twelve other kids need to you the restroom now? Weird.

I hope that speech about everyone going to the bathroom at the same time being a disruption really sinks in.

I love how this group of kids is so into their books. Reading really is the best.

What time is it? Yes, only 15 minutes until lunch, so we can start getting ready to go in 10 minutes.

Time for lunch...

Where are the damn lunch cards?

Okay I found them.

Yes, for the 100th time, I understand that your teacher does things differently, but we are doing it this way for JUST ONE DAY!

Don't they want to go to lunch too? Why does it take an hour to line up?

Okay. Ready. Finally.

Bye! Have a good lunch!

Aw, hugs? Sometimes these little guys can be so sweet.

WHERE'S THE BATHROOM?! While I'm not subbing, I really take for granted being able to pee whenever I want to.

Alright, I've got 35 more minutes? Time for a delicious microwaved meal. I can hardly wait.

Teacher's lounge or eat in the classroom?

Let's be real, I don't need to waste the 30 minutes I have left on small talk. Classroom it is.

Man, it is quiet in here. I love it.

I could seriously take a nap right now.

WAKE UP! Only five more minutes until I need to pick everyone up.

Maybe they will be lined up and ready.

Maybe not.

I should have brought my jacket because it is windy!

Okay, okay, okay. Turn around, let's line up. Back to class.

After lunch...

Only 30 minutes of writing then they are off to music. Shouldn't be too hectic.

What did these children eat?! I think that one literally just bounced off of the wall.

How can such small people be so loud?

What to do, what to do.. I know! A book! I'll read a book.

That worked surprisingly well. I knew my special friend wasn't likely to calm down too easily, but the rest of them are much better than five minutes ago.

Alright, writing. Writing is fun! Let me explain the assignment.

Whoa, okay she's done already? Uh.. draw a picture?

Dude, this little boy has barely written his name.

Why are they all so obsessed with spelling?

Okay, hopefully lecture number two, about why it is okay to spell words wrong as long as you sound them out, otherwise known as, STOP ASKING ME TO SPELL EVERY WORD, sinks in.

Wow, time went by quickly! Let's get ready for music!

Onto music and my prep time...

Bye, bye, bye! Another hug? Cute.

Should I go to the bathroom now? Or wait until after specials? I just went at lunch.

Okay, I'll go on my way to pick them up. Time for some "me time."

Ha! Only if you call cleaning up materials, starting a note for the teacher, checking my email, going over the plans for the end of the day, and saving time to go to the bathroom "me time."

Is that the principal? No, no, PLEASE, I DON'T WANT TO COVER ANOTHER CLASS!

Ugh. Fine. They better be good.

Of course they won't be good. They have probably had five different teachers in and out of their classroom throughout the day.

Great. Kindergarten. My favorite. Not.

Great. No plans or materials. I love that! Not.

Okay, attitude adjustment time. I'm only here for about 45 minutes. I can make the best of it.

No, no, no don't pull hair!

Oh my God, no, don't cut your hair!

Okay, everyone, hands on their head. There, that calmed them down a little.

Maybe I'll tell them the quietest one can choose a book to read.

Hey, this is working!

Oh no, now she's crying because she couldn't choose a book. Time for lecture number three.

Maybe now they understand that not everyone can always choose for the group but maybe they can get a chance next time.

Alright, let's read.

Holy crap, not another pee parade.

They are in kindergarten so I should probably let them go.

Back to the book.

Oh, really, little boy, the other kids were playing the bathroom? I'm shocked. Thanks for letting me know.

Lecture time! Why do kids always want to play in the most disgusting place in the world, an elementary school bathroom?

Hopefully I didn't make them too terrified of germs.

Okay, 20 more minutes. I'm guessing I'm going to lose MY bathroom opportunity.

Maybe they can write a sentence and draw a picture about the story.

Some of them are following directions. Some of them are just coloring. You know what? No one's hair is being pulled or cut so I'm calling this a win.

Oh, hi principal. Yes, yes, you are so very welcome. Time to get my original class.

Okay, I am going to pee as fast as humanly possible.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Mrs. Grouchy Face, I'm 30 seconds late to pick them up. File a complaint to my bladder.

Back to class and the end of the day...

By Scott Webb on Unsplash

Alright, time for the final stretch.

Centers! Yes, some of you can use iPads.

Gotta love when 95% of the class is on task. Makes my job easy.

I spoke too soon.

I'll give him "the look."

Yes, totally effective.

What time is it?

Okay, great, time to start packing up!

No, no, I won't be here tomorrow.

Aw, I'll miss some of them too.

Dang, this class is a mess.

Good, I think telling them all to pick up 10 things did the trick.

You guys in the corner definitely did not pick up 10 things, but I'll let it slide.

Let's line up. Who rides the bus? Who walks? Who gets picked up?

I'm never going to remember that.


Bye! Bye! See ya!

More hugs.

And a picture of myself? It's a spitting image. Sort of. Not really, but it's the thought that counts. I'll treasure it forever. Or for a few days at least.

Two of them left to be picked up.

Why is it always the special friend who is last to be picked up?

Alright, there they go.

After all of the kids have gone...

Whew. Why am I so tired?

This class could not be further away.

Okay, tidy, tidy, tidy. The class looks pretty good.

Let me finish my note. All in all, a pretty good day. Only one special friend who really could have given me a much harder time. I won't mention his name. His teacher already knows how he is. I'll let her know who was awesome today though!

Off to the office.

Oh really, you need subs every day this week? Weird.

I'll give them my number but make sure they know I am VERY PART TIME.

Getting home...

Yes, traffic! I love traffic. Okay, not really.

At least I can listen to my audiobook.

I'd say that was worth my $90 a day earnings. Maybe. I truly am EXHAUSTED. No one understands how much work dealing with 25 kids all day is.

Someone's calling.

Another school needs a sub on Friday?

I guess I'll be there.


About the Creator

Haley Peterson

I am a full-time teacher turned stay at home mom, and I have been loving every minute of it!

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Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (1)

  • rajkumar .v.s.about a year ago

    to know about darke side of school life read

Haley PetersonWritten by Haley Peterson

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