A Day in the Life of a Substitute Teacher

I’ve commented here before about the kinds of unusual situations that substitute teachers face. Well here are some things to add:

1) One would think that the teachers we are replacing would have everything organized for us when we enter the room. Given the fact that some teachers never had the experience of being a substitute teacher, I still wonder why very few teachers leave me a list of allergies or medical conditions that students in their room have. Or that they hide their sharpened pencils, erasers, and chalk. I can always mime my name but it’s easier writing it on a chalkboard. Of course, chalkboards are almost obsolete now so I guess the teachers expect me to have an expertise with smartboards so I can put my name on them. However, the biggest piece of information we are not given is where to go in the room if a lockdown were to occur. I’ve even found children that have no clue about lockdown locations and they’ve been in that very classroom for a few months;

Teacher with Students

2) My name is Mr. Coates but I have been called, sometimes purposely, Mr. Goats, Mr. Boots, Mr. Jackets, Mrs. Coates, Mom, Dad, Mr. Cokes, Mr. Forehead (I am balding), and Jerk;

3) I get all kinds of interesting questions from students but the most common one is, Have you always been a supply teacher? Will you ever be a real teacher? Sometimes, I say, I have a degree just like the one your teacher has. I have taught longer than you have been alive and, in some cases, longer than your parents have been alive. In fact, I want to say, I’ve probably been teaching longer than your teacher has been alive. This isn’t always true, of course, but, yes, sometimes; and

4) The Jeopardy Answer is: Storm, First, Fresh, Song, Lark, Poem. The Jeopardy Question is: Not Subjects That I’ve Taught or Good Words for Poems but…Students I Have Taught.

I still think I have the best job in the world.


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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