Sunday, 3 June 2012

Substitute Teaching in "M-Division"

     Now that I have started my summer job(s) full time I unfortunately do not have as much availability to substitute teach as I did previously. Thankfully my employer was willing to be flexible with my hours so that I could have every Friday off in order to substitute teach in either "T-Division" or "M-Division", which are both within driving distance of our home! Now some people may find it weird that I am choosing to take one day off work just to go to another job but it was really important to me to substitute teach and get to know people in the division because this time next year I will be applying for jobs here! I can only hope that substitute teaching is allowing me those networking opportunities that may help me get a job down the road (fingers crossed).

     So this past Friday I was able to substitute teach a Grade 7 class in "M-Division". What a great experience! All I can say is that attitude is everything and positive staff can make such an amazing difference. Now just to be clear, I have never actually had a bad experience in any of the schools I have been in, but some have had a much more positive work environment than others. Do you know what I mean? The schools where all the staff are friends, they are working collaboratively and everyone has common goals for the students. Well the school I was at on Friday had exactly this! From right when I pulled up to the school I was greeted by another teacher who welcomed me and showed to where the office was. I had the opportunity to meet the Principal, Vice-Principal and office staff immediately and was then given a tour of the entire school by the E.A (Educational Assistant) that would be in my classroom through the day. As our classroom's E.A and I made our way to our classroom I was then greeted by the teachers across the hall from me who also welcomed me and told me all about the Grade 7 classes. To top it all off, the Principal even stopped in during the first period to ensure that I had found everything and that it was all going well. What a great feeling!

     Attitude is EVERYTHING when it comes to teaching (and most jobs) and a positive work environment does not stop at the teachers themselves, it all transfers down to the students we are teaching. Our students can tell when their teacher(s) are happy at their job and teacher collaboration provides so many great learning opportunities for our students!

     Do the teachers in your school work collaboratively? How has it influenced your teaching?


  1. How inspiring that you are so committed to subbing and getting to know colleagues for an upcoming year :) You are incredibly lucky to have the chance to work in a school that is so supportive and caring.

    I am very blessed to be on a team of teachers that is outrageously supportive. Unfortunately, our supposedly sacred planning time has been hijacked by mandatory agenda items that have nothing whatsoever to do with planning, but we still share our lesson planning responsibilities. Each of us plans one subject (this year, I was responsible for writing) for the whole week and sends it out on the prior Friday to the team. We are able to look through it, make changes as necessary to meet the needs of our particular students, and then share even more ideas. This makes planning SO MUCH LESS stressful!!

    We also make sure that we all eat lunch together at least once a week (usually more) just to spend time together and decompress. We undoubtedly end up bouncing teaching ideas off one another too. I think these things have made a huge difference-- we had the highest scores in the district this year!!

    1. Thank you Bethany! I feel so lucky to, one, have an opportunity to work as a substitute teacher in the first place and, two, have such amazing schools to work in!

      Isn't it always the case that there are meeting topics/concerns/etc that seem to eat into that collaboration time. Your planning set-up seems really interesting! Is that done across your grade or do teachers plan items for different grades too? I was also wondering if this was something that you and your colleagues decided to do independently or was it set up by administration? Each school manages things so differently and I love hearing about what everyone is doing.

      I think that making time to work as a TEAM is so important and it seems like your school is definitely on the right track! Congratulations on such a success :)

  2. These experiences - and reflecting on them in your blog - will be valuable not only in a job search, but for your own growth as a teacher. Keep up this great work, Kirsten. It will be nice to see you again in September.

    1. Thanks Mr. Nantais! I am really enjoying the experiences that substitute teaching is offering. I am substituting again the next two Fridays so I will have even more posts! It will be nice to see you as well :)

  3. Nice reflection, and attitude is important in jobs everywhere, great message. Carolyn


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