If you told me a few months ago that I would start subbing at the local school district, I would have thought you were crazy. In fact, at the beginning of December, I thought things were finally starting to look up for me. I had a decent paying job and I was finally getting out of debt. The last thing I expected was to get knocked in the head and suffer from severe concussion symptoms for nearly two months. Now, after everything is better, I am just excited to finally get back to work.
I’ve never subbed before, but I have gone back and forth over the years about looking into getting my teaching license. I have a degree and I’m sure I could more than handled the course work needed to procure a license. Maybe that’s something I can look into over the summer. But for now, I feel like a kid who is is nervous and anxious before the first day of school.
I don’t know about you, but I was a bit of a nerd before the first day. I would pack and repack my backpack, ensure everything was organized and ready to go. I would even ponder over what to wear. So here I am, the day before and I’ve checked and rechecked my “subpack.” For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s basically a back up kit for a substitute teacher in case they should need something. Mine isn’t super fancy or even original, as I’ve never subbed before and I wanted to get a better idea of what I might need or want in mine before spending a ton of money. But it seems to have all of the bare necessities that were suggested on various sites as well as my sub packet.
I’m hoping I have everything I need for the few weeks that are left in this school year. I really need this job and while I’m waiting to hear back about a position with our local Veteran’s Service Commission, this is all I could find that wasn’t fast food, hard labor (which I’m not cleared to do any longer) or Walmart. Either way, this will at least help us get part way through the summer if needed and it’ll help me get comfortable in a more formal setting with kids, since I have a summer job opportunity at one of the organizations that offers summer groups to children with special needs and behavioral issues.
Here is everything I put into my subpack (for now):
It was suggested that all subpacks include loose leaf paper. Since I will be subbing for all age groups, I thought it would be wise to keep two packs of wide ruled and college ruled in my pack. I’m not sure how your school experiences were, but I was fully aware of how hard my mother worked to pay the bills, growing up. So when I ran out of school supplies or couldn’t afford lunch, I was ashamed to tell her. Looking back on that, I wish I would have spoken up, but I can’t help but wonder why my mother would think three notebooks, two packs of paper and a couple of pencils would last an entire school year. Either way, I refuse to watch a child have to go through the embarrassment of asking another student for yet another sheet of paper, just to do a single assignment. It was never enough and no child should have to experience that.
Also pictured here are two packs encouraging stickers, a pack of sticky notes (for my use) and some crayons.
My subpack suggestion page and some of the sites I looked at, all suggested in investing in pens, pencils, and markers. To me, having these kinds of things are kind of a relief because I don’t have to go rifling through the teacher’s desk to find what I need. Also, I grabbed extras for the same reason as with the paper above. Maybe I’m being a bit over prepared, but I can’t help it. I’ve never done this before and there’s no sort of training for this. Besides, I’ve always been one to believe that it is far better to be over prepared than under prepared.
I don’t know why I never thought of this, but it never occurred to me that I might very well sub for a teacher who didn’t have time to leave behind a lesson plan. It’s pretty obvious that this can happen, especially in a case when someone gets sick or an emergency arises. And yet, before looking into sub packs, it would have never occurred to me to prepare for one of these types of situations. Or at least not until the first time it happens. I did some looking online and I was able to find some basic worksheets to print off based off of the topic and of course, grade. Ironically, I think I’d be better prepared winging it with a younger class. But for the older classes, I found word searches or fun activities where they give you a word like: deoxyribonucleic acid and the everyone can try to see who can make the most words with the letters present or you can take turns and have the entire class participate. As nerdy as I am, I’m really looking forward to the first time I get to pull one of these out.
Something I saw that was repeatedly suggested was the idea of getting supplies to make name tags for your students. In an older class, where I may get new students every hour, this won’t really work out. But for the younger students, I think it will help me keep track of everyone. Plus we can have fun decorating the tags with stickers or having the kids draw their own designs on them. It’s kind of a win-win, if you ask me. The other thing I kept seeing was a substitute teaching report. Since I’m new at this, I wasn’t sure if the district has a standard one that will be ready for me. So I decided to create my own. It’s not super fancy or anything, but at the very least, it’s something I can leave for the teacher.
The funny thing is, I won’t get paid by the hour. Instead, I get paid for the whole day or a half-day. The one thing my contact at the sub office wanted me to be clear on is, even if the school tries to dismiss me early, it is my responsibility to remain there until the end of the day. This is fine for me, as I will take any excuse to read and get paid for it. But just in case I finish my book early or can’t really get into it, I decided to stock up on some adult coloring books and sudoku books. I keep hearing about these adult coloring books and have even heard studies about how it helps to reduce stress. So of course, this is the perfect opportunity to check them out for myself. Who knows? Maybe I’ll use them all up and will have to invest in the Harry Potter color books that I’ve had my eyes on!
Either way, I can’t wait to get started. Maybe I’ll discover that I hate it or perhaps I might love it so much that I get my teaching license. At the very least, it’s a new adventure for me and hopefully it turns out to be a good one!