Being a Substitute Teacher

When I was working in private school, assigning a substitute teacher for teachers who are absent is official and formal. Actually, there’s a slip for substitution.


In my first year of teaching in the public school, I was assigned to substitute twice for a longer duration for two teachers who took a leave. When I attended their classes, I taught the same lessons I shared with my previous classes, so that they would not be left out.


Since then, I have not substituted anymore because I was no longer assigned. Last year, I just took the initiative to handle my advisory class whenever their teacher was out. I usually gave activities tailored for homeroom.


This year I have substituted more than 20 times already, and for the first time I kept track on them. I was more conscious about substituting because I serve as the key teacher for English 10. Often, I’m the one who assign substitute teacher, and I include myself in the list.


Just recently, two of our teachers were out of campus. I had to substitute for two consecutive days. Not that I’m the only one doing it, I also assigned the other loads to my other fellow teachers.  My substitution this week is indeed memorable.



#1 This is my first time to handle a star section in our school.

In my previous school, I handled the star section for two consecutive years. I was not just the English teacher, but I was the adviser. Teaching the star section was really challenging.


Since I entered the public school, I have never taught the star class. I had the chance to judge and observe a star class. I’ve known some students from star class whenever there are contests and school activities. But I have never experienced entering a star section’s classroom as a teacher.


That’s why when I taught X-Rizal last Monday, I felt something different. Finally, I was a teacher of the star class even for just a day. It’s an entirely different experience. Since I didn’t know them, I addressed each as “Miss” and “Sir.” I interviewed them about their previous lessons, and I focused on discussing literary criticism. Although I taught the topic in my classes two weeks ago, our discussion went smoothly especially that the students were eager to learn something new. It was an amazing sight for being able to communicate with students whom we consider as the cream of the crop.


#2 This is my first time to handle a class simultaneously.

As much as I want to handle the star class again, I had a problem with my schedule. It’s my free time last Monday, but I had already a class beginning Tuesday, and my class is three buildings away. Therefore, I asked another teacher to go to X-Rizal while I attend to his original substitution.


On a supposedly normal Tuesday, I entered in Room 201 and introduced myself. Only few students recognized me because very few of them were my students in Grade 9. At first, they were disorganized, but my presence made them observe order. Within a minute, they’re settled.


I explained to them why I was there. I posted my visual aids and gave them the instructions. I told them that they should read and study first the visuals while I was in another room.


That’s my problem. My original class is at the far opposite end of the corridor, Room 205. So from Room 201, I had to race to Room 205 and start my lesson. I gave a short lecture. Then, I provided exercises. While my original students were answering the exercise, I went back to Room 201.


The students in Room 201, X-Macario Sakay, were actually happy people. It was not hard for me to teach the lesson, which was Cases of Pronouns. I felt like I taught the topic best in their class even if it was just a substitution. I tried to simplify the topic. Then, I gave them an exercise. While they were doing the exercise, I went back to Room 205.


I think I did it thrice or four times. Two teachers even noticed what I was doing and I told them the situation. We laughed about it. Actually, it was not that tiring to travel from one room to another even if they’re both in opposite ends. My teaching batteries were alive, and I was eager to teach.


When the day was over, I told the students in Room 201 that it was nice meeting them, which was very true.



Indeed, I had substituted for many times already, but my experience this week made a lot of difference. Usually, a substitution load is another burden for teachers like us with many things to accomplish, but this experience breaks the ice in us once in a while and remind us our calling to teach.


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