Saturday, August 27, 2011

Three Days in High School - The Staff

Whenever people ask me what I do, I, with a distinctly apologetic voice say, I am just a sub, a substitute teacher.  People who have never done this kind of work frequently react to that statement with sympathy - perhaps even caused by my own apologetic voice.  Being "just a sub", makes me feel lesser.  I know how hard it is - to go to different classes, with different students, different rules, different co-workers, different lesson plans, different equipment, etc.  I should be proud of the work I do and I am.

But sometimes I feel like I am invisible.  Sitting with a group of teachers eating lunch, and no one talks to you.  Asking a question and getting the shortest possible answer that isn't rude.  Contributing to a discussion and getting no response.  Other teachers aren't rude, but it is one of the hazards of being a sub, especially a new sub in a new district.  Teachers are too busy with their own thoughts and concerns and the subs are rather like place-holders.

Interestingly, the administration and the custodians have been, IME, consistently nice.  They talk to me, they smile at me, they act like they are glad I am there.  And, once I get to know a school or a specific department, the teachers start to treat me like I am a real person.  I just wish that they would do so a bit sooner.

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