We Have a Sub Today! (P-A-R-T-Y!)

We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers, leave them kids alone
Hey, teacher leave them kids alone!
Lyrics from “Another Brick in the Wall part 2” – Pink Floyd 

Somehow the lyrics from the classic Pink Floyd song seem to sum up the attitude of students from all around the world when it comes to having a substitute teacher.  The other prevailing mood among students from just about every grade level is the teacher’s away it’s time to PARTY!!!

 Sub Means No Work Today!

I remember back to my own school years — throughout elementary, middle school and even into high school, the attitude of students when walking into the classroom to find a substitute teacher waiting there can be summed-up simply: “It’s a day off!”

I remember in middle school seeing the boys give each other high -fives and the girls excitedly planning social excursions to the ladies room.  I had one friend whose tradition on sub days was to go to the nurse and get sent home sick.  Her key strategy was to effectively persuade her mom that it was OK to miss a day because it was only a sub!  Her mom agreed and off she went for a day at home in front of the TV!

 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Somehow the Ferris Bueller’s day off mentality has stuck within school culture throughout the ages.  I am not sure how this all started, or why it’s so ingrained among students, but it is as real today as when I was going to school and was even prevalent in my parents’ school days, and their parents before them.

I remember the feeling myself, but now there’s a big difference . . . I am the substitute teacher!  It’s a whole different story when you’re suddenly viewed as the ticket out of the daily routine and a free pass to a classroom PARTY!

 Good morning class, I’m your substitute teacher today!

As an intern at a large international school one of my primary responsibilities is to be the ‘go-to’ substitute teacher from Preschool to grade 4.  As the designated pinch hitter, I have some theories on why this free-for-all attitude takes over even among very young students.  Understanding it holds some of the keys to dealing with it.

Tricks of the Trade

I have also learned some tricks of the trade for managing a class that’s expecting “a day off” which I intend to share in my next blog!  Be advised these strategies are being crafted on a daily basis and much of substitute teaching involves learning “on the fly!”

Till next time! 

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