Pros and Cons of Substitute Teaching
I am working on my master's degree in special education. While I am going to school I am substitute teaching to get my foot in the teaching door.
What are the good things about substitute teaching?
One of the good things is actually my mantra when I get a difficult class. I can do anything for one day. If I have a class that is particularly difficult, I only have to make it through the day. The next day chances are I will be in a different classroom, in a different grade, and possibly at a different school.
Another good thing about substitute teaching is the schedule flexibility. If you need to make an appointment, you will be out of town for a few days, or your child is sick, you can turn down the subbing job for that day. I wouldn't do it too often, or the sub hotline may move you down on their list.
You also get to meet many wonderful students, with diverse backgrounds, and stories. To me this is a very interesting aspect. As a writer I love to hear peoples stories, and learn about their lives.
What are the cons of substitute teaching?
What do you do in the summertime? When school is out, you are out of a job. When you are a full time teacher you still get a regular salary, since it is spread out through the year. When you are a substitute teacher, you get nothing.
Along that same line, substitute teaching does not have a regular schedule. It is not a paycheck you can count on. If there is a break, such as Christmas, or snow days, or simply no absent teachers, you do not work. Some weeks you may work one day, some weeks you may work five.
Another con, with some classrooms, especially older students, you will be tested. The students may misbehave just to see how you will react. When this happens, I try to focus on the positive behavior, and the students who are behaving and reward the good behavior whenever possible. I have found if you focus on the bad behavior, you often get more bad behavior. It is easy to say, but not always easy to do.
In my world the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I enjoy the flexible schedule, and the summers off. The schedule works very well with my son's schedule. When he is out of school I can be home with him, instead of sending him to a daycare facility. The best part is, I enjoy working with the students.