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My experience is not to expect anything to happen when you're out. Most subs are just warm bodies. I always picture the scene in the movie "Teachers" with Nick Nolte about the teacher Ditto who is a fossil that sits at his desk and hands out copies of worksheets. Sounds like you did not even get this level of work however.

On the plus side, think of how little grading you now have to do!


I agree with Dan: it's best not to expect too much. Unfortunately, knowing that "nothing is happening while I'm out" makes taking time off to heal even more difficult.

I teach at an international school, and our sub list is "slim pickin'." I've also taught in public ed and private ed in the US and other countries, and, though some schools are better than others, the fact is: finding a good sub is an international, global problem. :-)


Um, what is this with the Kelly Clarkson on your rotation list? Is something wrong and this is your cry for help?

I'm worried.


Don't you just hate it? I've gotten so that if I think I might be out, I actually write the next day's lesson plans on the board for the kids, not the sub, or I leave handouts that specifically explain to the kids what to do, so that the sub just has to pass them out. Clearly, none of that would have worked for you this time.

It does tend to make you feel just a bit indispensable, though, doesn't it?


Makes me feel slightly better to know this is not a problem just in my school! The first time I was to be out and knew in advance, I gave my AP lesson plans for the sub and she looked at me like I was crazy. Then told me it wouldnt get done. I figure if my administration can't even pretend to support me in leaving work, then it's a lost cause! I have had minimal success in asking another teacher to go in, bypass the sub, and give the students instructions (but this is in elementary school)


Seriously, how hard is it?? We spell everything out and the kids most likely know what to do anyway if they would just BOTHER to pass something out. Sheesh.


You are definitely not alone. I dumb down my lessons and they still screw them up. It really isn't that hard. I have no idea what they are thinking when they are standing in front of the class. Sigh. Glad you feel better.


That's why sub days are movie days. It totally sucks though and is a waste of time. I actually am working as a sub right now and get requested every day because I follow the lesson plans. I talk to other subs occassionaly and they bitch about only working two days a week and I ask them if they follow the lesson plans. I'm pretty bitchy. One day I was subbing as a para-professional and the real teacher had a sub as well and that sub would NOT follow the lesson plans even though I explained them to her, then she had the gall to tell me I was her inferior and she could do whatever she wanted. Anyway, sorry you had such a bad experience.


we have a teacher out on maternity leave and apparently her sub broke down and said, "i don't think i can do this" because she thought her two months would consist of videos and worksheets. the department chair said, "you will do this. and you will do it well." i don't understand why the sub expected videos for two months...


Actually, this is the very reason I am a teacher who refuses to take sick days - bad subs!


Ditto! I was out two weeks ago and I came back to find out about 20 kids did the work, and after 3rd period, someone erased the board and the kids claimed not to know what to do, even though the sub had a typed out lesson plan. Not to mention things were taken from my desk and room, and the kids act more like maniacs than ever.

Funny thing is, I'm getting really sick now and will probably call out sick for tomorrow. When you start getting dizzy sitting down, you know something is wrong.

Glad you're feeling better. Did you get my email?


Yes, the very reason we all go to school sick.

My favorite was the sub who found my stash of goodies...oatmeal, crackers, cookies.

I hope she was good and full, I was starving the next day.


The most recent sub I had not only ignored my lesson plans, but decided that she would teach science to my eighth graders. Predictably, she taught atomic structure while leaving out and/or confusing the most important details.
Additionally, she made racial remarks to one of my Asian students, basically mocking his culture. I made sure that she would NEVER sub for me again.
The final blow came when my students told me that the sub said I was incompetent, and she could tell by the way my room was set up. I was so angry my entire body turned red.


Wow. I just began substitute teaching in November because I am considering moving from my IT career to teaching.

I had a 7th grade science class Thursday and Friday. When I first arrived on Thursday, the teacher's aide and the other science teacher acted like I wouldn't accomplish anything. They wrote down everything for me (on the board, notes, etc.), and even told me that the students were to read from the book during class, but we didn't have to discuss it because "some substitutes feel uncomfortable about doing that."

Well, I spent the planning period going over the material so I could prepare for discussion. I taught 5 classes the material, and even the teacher's aide said that I did very well (and she also commented that she usually teaches if there is a sub in the room, but since I was doing fine, she decided not to step in).

I was upset over it, and angry that I could not be trusted to do simple tasks. After reading this entry, though, I can understand why they reacted that way at first.

What I can't understand is how a substitute can justify actions like that. I couldn't let those students just read the book, because not only would they have been bored, I would have been bored as well. How would I learn about teaching if I just sat there and stared at the students the whole time, or played games the entire class?

I just wish I'd get called more often, but a lot of people in this area have their preferred subs (whether they're friends or retired) and it's hard to get past that.


At my school, the teachers who have been there for a long time know the good subs, the ones who follow plans and aren't scared to teach a little. My favorite sub always leaves long, written summaries of the day's events and really gets to know the kids and what they are working on. But certainly, ones like him are few and far between. Sub-ing is a hard job.

And Miss KT, have you heard that Since U Been Gone song? I hate to admit it, but I really wanna bop my head around when it comes on. Guilty pleasures are fun!


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