CHCCS substitute teachers service students stupendously

November 16, 2011   ·   0 Comments

By Becky Scheible

When we hear that a teacher will be absent for a day, we are delighted, whether it be for the simple change or for a day of relaxation. Many of us do not take the time even to consider our substitute teachers’ name. The subs of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) deserve more credit than they get, and although we only see them once every so often, our stand-in faculty truly make a lasting impression.

SUSAN KUDLER:

Photo courtesy of Susan Kudler

ECHO: How long have you worked as a substitute teacher? How long have you been with CHCCS?

SK: I have been subbing for over ten years solely in the CHCCS district—all grades, all schools including Phoenix Academy. Some schools call me more than others and I’m not sure why.

ECHO: Do you stick to the guides a teacher gives you, or do you offer your own incite into the material? Elaborate. 

SK: When I am subbing on a daily or two to three-day basis, I follow exactly the lesson plans left by the teacher. If I have a personal connection to the material then I add it, hoping to enrich things.  I often know a lot about the subject and feel very comfortable giving “my take” on it while sticking to the teacher’s lesson plans.

ECHO: How do you interact with the teachers you sub for? Do you give a full report of student behavior or simply a general overview?

SK: I do not need long, full reports on student behavior and therefore rarely leave them when I sub. All I usually leave is a general overview telling how things went. I make it a point to try to meet the teachers I sub for. I like to feel I have some kind of a relationship with them.

ECHO: How do you keep students engaged in what they should be learning?  How do you interact with them? Are you strict or are you more lenient? Why? 

SK: I like to think I keep a good balance between being lenient and being strict. As long as students do the work they need to I don’t like to feel like “the enforcer.”  I like having fun while learning and try to keep my classes fun without going out of bounds.

ECHO: What else is notable about your experience as a substitute teacher? 

SK: What really makes my day is when a student recognizes me from a past assignment and says, “Hey! Weren’t you my sub?” I’ve even gotten hugs from middle-schoolers who recognized me from their elementary classes. I really love teaching and meeting students old and new, and I hope they feel the same.

BEN MCELROY:

Photo courtesy of Ben McElroy

ECHO: How long have you worked as a substitute teacher? How long have you been with CHCCS?

BM: I started working as a substitute at the beginning of this school year. CHCCS is the first district I have worked with in my current role.

ECHO: Why did you become a substitute teacher?

BM: I love working with young people, and this was an opportunity for me to work with and for the demographic that I am most passionate about.

ECHO: Do you stick to the guides a teacher gives you, or do you offer your own insight into the material? Elaborate.

BM: I stay within the guidelines of what the teachers leave me with, but if I know anything about the material, I enjoy offering a little bit of my own insight as well.

ECHO: How do you keep students engaged in what they should be learning? How do you interact with them? Are you strict or are you more lenient? Why?

BM: I am not a strict substitute, but I’m not exactly lenient either. I’m really laid back and want students to enjoy their time while I’m in charge, but I think it is important for them to accomplish what their teachers have set out for them to do. I don’t mind conversation when things are under control and not too loud. Sometimes, I also have to put my foot down and let classes know who’s in charge. At the beginning of class I try and help students identify with me by telling them a little bit about myself and what I’m up to. I let them know that I’m laid back but remind them that we are here to get some things accomplished.

ECHO: How do you interact with the teachers you sub for? Do you give a full report of student behavior or simply a general overview? 

BM: Some teachers I know personally or through other teachers. Many though, I have never communicated with. I always leave a note with the teacher. I tell them generally how I went about conducting the class. I give a general report on behavior, which to this point has been that I enjoyed the students I worked with. I have on a couple of occasions left a note about specific students who were exceptionally difficult. Thankfully though, those occasions are few and far between.

ECHO: What else is notable about your experience as a substitute teacher? 

BM: At the end of the day, I just really enjoy building some kind of relationship with the students, even if I never see them again. I see myself as an advocate for the young people of today. I am working towards becoming a youth pastor, so working with students is a lifelong goal! Students need to know that they are heard, and need more affirmation, and at the end of the day, that is why I’m subbing.

TRAORÉ ADAMA:

Photo by Becky Scheible

ECHO: How long have you worked as a substitute teacher? How long have you been with CHCCS?

TA: I have been a substitute teacher at CHCCS since 2003.

ECHO: Why did you become a substitute teacher?

TA: I became a substitute teacher after my position at Duke University and Durham Tech as a French professor, since 1993 to 2010. I have 37 years teaching experience.

ECHO: Do you stick to the guides a teacher gives you, or do you offer your own insight into the material? Elaborate.

TA: I mix the guides from my teachers and my own experience with students; teaching should be fun and pleasurable.

ECHO: How do you keep students engaged in what they should be learning? How do you interact with them? Are you strict or are you more lenient? Why?

TA: I keep my students engaged in the classroom and after school for their learning.  Teaching must be fun, so I do my best to interact with students in their learning. I am very patient, and I am sensitive to students.  I am strict [when students] don’t do their classwork.

MATTHEW LEROY:

Photo by Becky Scheible

ECHO: How long have you worked as a substitute teacher? How long have you been with CHCCS?

ML: I’ve been a substitute with the school system for three years.

ECHO: Why did you become a substitute teacher?

ML: It is the culmination of a life-long dream—to become Mr. Brogden’s go-to sub. Just kidding. I actually became a sub because I was looking for a part-time job where I could serve the community in a meaningful way. I’m a pastor of a local church where we emphasize authentic community engagement. This is an intentional way for me to give back to a town I love.

ECHO: Do you stick to the guides a teacher gives you, or do you offer your own insight into the material? Elaborate.

ML: I definitely stick to the guides provided by the teachers. I’m a guest in their classrooms, and understand that I’m there to help accomplish their goals. I see myself as a partner for them. I do offer guidance and insight, but I don’t take the class in a different direction.

ECHO: How do you keep students engaged in what they should be learning? 

ML: I actually find the material interesting myself. I mean, how can you not engage with To Kill A Mockingbird or the Civil War or Advanced Trigonometry? Ok, maybe the Trig part is a stretch, but still.

ECHO: How do you interact with students?  Are you strict with them or are you more lenient? Why?

ML: I’m not overly strict with students, but I’m careful to foster the right level of respect. Interacting with students is my favorite part of this job. I genuinely believe in these students, care about them, and enjoy building relationships with them.

ECHO: What else is notable about your experience as a substitute teacher? 

ML: I actually sub for some teachers I had in high school, which is a little strange.  Mr. Brogden (also my rec-ball coach), Ms.  Lancaster and Ms. Boyarsky. All of them had an impact on me back then, so it’s fun for me to work with them now.

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