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The Secret Life Of a Minneapolis Substitute Teacher

Updated on July 28, 2016

A Diverse School Population

Minneapolis Schools consist of a highly diverse student population, specializing in various thematic curriculum programs, including math, science and technology.

The Minneapolis Public School district, located in the state of Minnesota, consists of a diverse student population. As a passionate, dedicated, and engaging substitute teacher I have had the privilege of contributing to the progress of student achievement in a variety of school locations throughout the city. In my endeavor, I have seen the quality of educational potential rise for thousands of students on my watch.

Each day I step foot into a classroom, my primary purpose is to instill in each child the conception that education cannot be exchanged for any other pursuit, including sports, art, or entertainment. Obtaining a good education is supreme. Other aspirations, though honorable, are secondary to the ability to read, write and display of mathematical competency. Great scientific discoveries and engineering ingenuity have originated from a passionate pursuit of knowledge.

From September to June, I travel to a variety of schools, including Halls Elementary, Nellie Stone Johnson and Leroy Jenny Lind Elementary-all inter-city schools with widely diverse populations. Spanish Emerson Elementary, Sullivan Elementary and Marcy Open are schools located near downtown Minneapolis. All Minneapolis schools are safe and secure. All visitors must be buzzed in and must enter the office before proceeding any further into the schools. Once in the office, you are verified and given identification for that day if you don't possess a general district ID.

Pleasant Greetings

As a substitute teacher, you are greeted with a welcoming smile by office personnel. Then you are giving a sub folder with a room number. In this folder you will find attendance sheet, seating charts, emergency plan procedures, general daily schedules and evaluation forms. You are also given a key for access to the room in which you are subbing. Usually, on the way to the room, you are warmly greeted by teachers you pass by in the hallway. "Good morning! Welcome to our school," they often say. And If you have a question, getting help is not a problem. Minneapolis teachers will point the way to the teacher's lounge, the staff bathrooms, and the lunch room with kindness.

Thematic Classrooms

Entering into the classrooms in the Minneapolis Public school district can be the most interesting thing a substitute can do. Just by looking at what's on the walls, you can tell what the dominant themes a classroom is focused on. It could be the theme of community, culture, science, math or art. Students are surrounding by the images of these themes day after day for a subliminal diet. Therefore, no student can leave the school your without some thematic knowledge once the school year is over.

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Daily Lesson Plans

Substitute's teachers are not without directions in the classroom. Usually detailed lesson plans are found on the teacher's desk or near the classroom computers. The different lessons and activities are organized by time and moves quickly so that students are seldom bored. Major emphasis is on reading, language arts and math. I delight in transitioning from one interesting subject to the next. Normally a day goes supper fast for me. When I look up at the clock, the day is nearly done. The children have received a quality education for that day.

Students Leadership

Many students in the Minneapolis school system are leaders in the classroom, a bonus for substitute teacher who are unfamiliar educational technology and the typical routines of the classrooms.

Meeting Interesting Students

I have enjoyed the experience of meeting some of the most interesting students. Many are very happy to help me understand the things regarding the classroom that I might not know, such as the various approaches teaching particular subjects, classroom discipline procedures, and the nature of bathroom break activity. Some classrooms teachers take whole group breaks while others allow one or two students at a time. Nevertheless, helpful students give me firsthand knowledge of the routines and rituals of the classroom.

The majority of the classroom possesses a widely diverse student population, including Caucasians, African American, Africans, Asians and Hispanics. The diversity increases or decreases depending on the location of the school in which I am subbing. I delight in working with different cultures and learning such things as their style of dressing, the way they interact with me and other students, the sound of their language and in some instances, the foods that they eat.

High Achieving Schools


My Effort to Make an Impact

Whether I am teaching in a school in the inner city, the East, West, North or South side, my intention is to make a dramatic impact upon each student by increasing their academic skills as well as improving their outlook on life. I inform them of their purpose, their uniqueness and their role in improving the conditions of society. I let them know that change starts with them right now. Each day is an opportunity to work toward the change. Often in the course of my instructions I look for teachable moments, times when some students are having challenges with focus and behavior. I apply natural consequences to problem behavior and discuss not only the why of the matter but also the effect upon the student, his classmate and well as his teacher. Therefore, when I release them to go home at the end of the day, I know that I have achieved something significant in the life of my students.

Working for the Minneapolis Public School district will give substitutes an opportunity to learn a number of teaching strategies and techniques. The knowledge you acquire from subbing in a variety of classroom will assist you in becoming a masterful teacher if or whenever you decide to become a regular classroom teacher.

Substituting In the Minneapolis School System

The process of becoming a Minneapolis public school sub is quite simple. You will need a Bachelor's degree and a Minnesota Short-call teacher license.

As a first step, you must register with the school district on the Minneapolis School district website and applying for a short-call teacher license, usually under a hundred dollars. Once accepted, you will be sent a letter to attend a new teacher orientation meeting sometimes in August before the start of the school year. After district expectation, polices, regulations are discussed with aspiring subs, a district ID will be given to qualified subs. Without such ID, an individual cannot teach in the Minneapolis school system. The ID gives a sub access to the Aesop job data base system where subs can sign in and choose from among thousands of sub positions offered every year. As a sub you get to choose when and where and how often you want to work. I am delighted in working with the Minneapolis school district for years and I hope you experience a similar delight. Happy Subbing.

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    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      4 years ago from California Gold Country

      I subbed for about 12 years, and also did workshops for sub teachers. I was in an elementary school district that included 23 different schools -- every neighborhood from every social status.

      It was a wonderful-- some times very challenging and exhausting, but ultimately quite rewarding in personal experiences. I learned a lot.

      Yes, it is quite a daunting thought to realize that something you say or do on one particular day may influence a life and be remembered forever. I am sure that many of your students will remember you and what your taught them.

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