Reflections from a new substitute teacher

The idea of me standing up in front of a Chemistry class, leading students through how to conduct an experiment, would have been laughable to my high school Chemistry teacher. As a student, I spent the majority of Chemistry class wondering what was going on and giggling with my girlfriends in the back row. Yet, as a newly minted substitute teacher, I didn’t hesitate to take the four day subbing assignment in Chemistry when offered. Since starting as a sub, I’ve taught Chemistry, Agriculture, English, Geometry, Statistics, Reading. And I’ve just signed on for Special Education and Biology later this week. The only job I’ve turned down is Physical Education.


Because I know how hard I would have to work. Not that the other positions aren’t demanding, it’s just a different type of demanding in the gym. Large classes, no seating chart, numerous exits, locker room supervision, equipment issues, disengaged students. Yes, I’m getting older and tire a little quicker – and just watching how hard the PE
teachers work, well the respect I have for the position I held for 30 years has only increased. Jokes are often cracked at PE teacher’s expense: “Oh, all you have to do is roll out the ball.” True, that’s one way to do it. And admittedly it is perhaps the easiest subject to fake your way through teaching. But it is, without a doubt in my mind, the
hardest subject to teach well. The successful PE teacher needs many tools in their toolbox. I have experienced how
much easier my job became when I could provide my students with a clear path to improving their performance – transcending the “how many reps mindset”. I have experienced the joy of watching student’s confidence increase as they worked through progressions of our Universal Movements. That first chin-up or push-up – wow. I have
experienced the look on student’s face when they connect the dots between what they care about and what it takes to be able to do the things they care about. I am currently talking with the physical education teacher where I am substituting about the Fit Kids Fit Future curriculum to see if there might be interest. I know it can help make her job easier. I hope so. Until then, I’ll be subbing in the classroom.




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