Friday, May 4, 2012
There's nothing like walking into the room and seeing a sub. Automatically, you get the message. No work that day. Substitute teachers are nothing more than overpaid babysitters. Despite the fact that they probably had to have a degree to get there, it doesn't take that much skill to pop in a video and hand out work sheets. Yet as babysitters, they are at the bottom of the totem pole. Forced to oversee a large volume of students at once with little knowledge of the rules, the substitute teacher is left with a big target on their forehead.
I had two substitute teachers today and they both filled the shoes of the teachers that I liked the least. It ended up totally making my day. One of the substitute teachers filled in for my crazy English teacher, and the class literally cheered. It was the funniest thing I ever saw in my life! Life was also easier with my other teacher out of the way too.
Substitute teachers tend to benefit us students. They are more lax on the rules, they are often much nicer and they often don't mean students don't have to do very much work. So why are students so rude to them? Why do students just stomp all over them? It's not like they probably wanted to do that with their lives anyway.
Something about the substitute teachers screams "tread on me". Perhaps it is their very strangeness and the lack of a foundation that they have. Maybe it is the fact that they are not chained down in one spot but so transitory that they are not solid. The fact that they don't know anyone's name helps. Of course, a lot of it has to do with that unsure, wary look in their eye and the way that they so often end up oozing vulnerability that kids can smell.
When subs try to correct students' behavior, they are often not only ignored but they are talked back to. Most subs try to weakly defend themselves but then end up balking at the students in the end. When this happens, the cycle only repeats itself. Sometimes they ask names and sometimes they even get some but this rarely does anything.
In addition to the above factors, I happen to come from a rather wealthy district with a lot of spoiled kids who think they are entitled to whatever they want. Then, of course, there are the attention-starved kids of the workaholic parents. Of course, these kids happen to be in the minority but many of them happen to exist in my math class for example. I'll never forget the speech one of my teachers had with us, about how those who work in lower positions (including janitors and bus drivers and cafeteria ladies here too) are not people that deserve any less respect. That the only reason we had what we had was because of our parents.
In my first class, I happened to have a test administered. Of course, when subs are around, people ignore the usual test rules, often chatting away (and even taking answers from one another). In my first class, the class became louder than ever before but the teacher didn't stop it (he probably sensed the joy and freedom oozing from the pores of most of my classmates). My sub in my second class happened not to get this kind of behavior, which was surprising considering the chattiness of our class and how uptight our teacher there is.
Substitute teachers have been around since school has been around practically, and it didn't take long for their ill treatment to result. Much of the time, people will take any excuse to act like assholes. Of course, no one should treat a substitute teacher poorly just because they can. Still, there's no day like a day with a sub...