Sunday, March 7, 2010

"She's Not a Real Teacher"

Substitute teaching can be hard.  You never know what kind of class you're going to get, if you're going to be working the next day, or what the regular teacher has in store for you.  It's a very "fly by the seat of your pants" way of teaching and sometimes there are surprises that you'd never expect.  I truly enjoy subbing.  It keeps me in the classroom and helps me keep my skills fresh so I won't feel so rusty when I finally do get to seek a full time position.

That being said, it frustrates me that I'm not considered a "real teacher."  I suppose the argument could be made that it's a fair assesment, considering that subs do not need a teaching license to be a sub - only a four year degree and a substitute license.  However, I did go to school for my content area.  I did student teach and complete a portfolio.  I did get my honest to goodness teaching license.  I have chosen to sub because it is the best fit for our family at this time, but it sometimes gets under my skin that I can't really walk through the hallways with my head held as high as the "real teachers."

For example, Thursday we were working in the computer lab and a student I have known for a couple years said something kind of....flippant.  Another student responded, "You can't say that to a teacher!" and the first one replied, "She's not a real teacher."  This has stuck with me.  What does it mean to be a real teacher?  Do we, as subs, not educate as well?  Do we not manage the behavior in our temporary classroom?  Do we not encourage, praise, and guide?  It can't be that piece of paper that makes one a real teacher, because I have one of those and I am decidedly not part of that exclusive group.  Therefore, it must be the fact that I do not have a full time position, a classroom, or a desk of my own to adorn with framed photographs of my kids.  It must be that I do not lesson plan, grade, modify assignments, or attend PLCs.

For the record, I wish I could do those things.  I long to be a real teacher, but I also know that to those two boys at home.....I'm as real as it gets.  And that means the world to me. 

A classroom can wait.

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