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Have to give these guys a shout – great resource for free / limited use graphics. I just don’t have time to write and draw for my blog – struggle to find time to write.

Substitute Teaching

It’s got to be a bit of a rite of passage for most educators who qualify in Canada. If you are willing and able to take off and teach in some remote community in northern Canada you may well be able to start teaching straight away. But for those who want to try and stay relatively connected with friends and family, then substitute teaching is where it all begins.
I’m not a newly qualified teacher, so for me it’s a little different. I have five years of full time teaching experience and 2 further years, on and off, of substitute (we call it supply teaching in the UK) work. Even though I am not new to teaching I do have those days where I struggle, as a substitute teacher, to deliver anything meaningful, normally when the class is a difficult one. 
Teaching, especially in schools with challenging students, is all about relationships. If you don’t have one with the students in your class, and as a substitute that’s likely, the day can be an exercise in trying to keep a semblance of order in the classroom, rather than enabling meaningful learning. A well behaved class that stays on task for more than 15 minutes has been the exception rather than the rule. 
Apparently, according to my wife, substitute bating (where students try and get the teacher to loose their cool) is a thing. I never came across it when I was a student as we very rarely had teachers who we didn’t know, and who didn’t know us. (I was at a boarding school) That said it didn’t stop some of us, at times, from being difficult, disrespectful and downright rude. So on reflection, perhaps I should look upon trying to teach these students who have similar behaviours as karmic reprisal. How my old Latin teacher would have laughed. 
That said and on a more positive note, as a substitute teacher you do get to see a variety of teachers and teaching styles at work. You see different strategies for dealing with challenging behaviours and various tactics employed in managing classrooms. All of this helps build a repository of ideas that you will be able to call upon when you have a class of your own.
The best thing of all about substitute teaching? You get to leave shortly after the students, no prep, little marking and a whole load of recovery time. Still, I want my own class – can’t make a difference a couple of hours at a time. 

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