The Life of a Supply Teacher

As a supply teacher in the Toronto District School Board, my work is never dull. Each day brings new experiences.

In the mornings, I have what is known as an LTO position: a long-term occasional job in which I teach Phys. Ed., Health, and Dance to grade 8 students. When I wake up in the morning and prepare myself for the day ahead, I always know what school I am going to and what students I will be teaching.

The afternoons are another story: I could get called into a different school with a different bunch of kids and a different subject all together. It is not unusual for me, a veteran, to go into a school I have never been in before and be treated disrespectfully by a group of students who believe this is my first day on the job.

This is one of the joys of supply teaching.

Sometimes I do not know where I am working in the afternoon until the very day I teach there. Then, I have to ensure I take a job within a fast travelling distance from my morning school since I take public transit and do not own a car.

I teach everything from kindergarten to grade 8, math to music, special education to regularly streamed students.

I could have grade 8 students in the morning and junior kindergarten students in the afternoon. That’s a 10-year age difference.

To cite an example of a typical day, last week I was teaching some grade 8 boys who, without my permission, were watching some gangsta rap on youtube. On the same day, I was teaching some 4-year-olds who were playing with stuffed animals and hanging on my every word as if I were a rock star.

As I said, my days are never dull.


About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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