As of late, I have started the transition from being a “stay-at-home mom” or as I like to call it, a “Domestic Engineer” to a part-time working adult. I currently have two jobs that offer me a lot of flexibility. One of my jobs includes secretarial duties within a hospital setting. My second job grants me the opportunity to work in public education.
Growing up, my mother often referred to me as the “teacher” or speaker. She gave me this nickname because I functioned as the human version of the auto-correct feature that is found on cell phones and tablets. I would always correct her if she mispronounced a word, misspelled a word or if she used incorrect grammar. My mom would always say things like, “you should become a teacher someday” or “I think you’d make a great teacher”. Well, maybe my mom could see into the future because I am officially working as a substitute teacher for a local charter school here in Memphis. I have taught 6-8th grade students in a variety of subjects such as math, English and technology. Though I am only covering short term assignments, I am still getting great teaching experience.
My very first assignment was extremely nerve wrecking. Can you imagine being on the other end of the substitute teacher experience? Most people have experienced having a substitute teacher at some point during their K-12 years and we know that students often give their sub a very hard time. There is something about the daily teacher being out for a day that inspires some students to break all the rules, submit odd requests, and put on some of the best academy award winning acting that has never made it to the big screen. I experienced all those things and more on my first day. Nevertheless, I reminded myself that I was once a pre-teen and I have had my share of time with being a challenging student. And oddly, I enjoy the challenge that certain students present and I look forward to further opportunities to interact with the students.
My advice to anyone who is interested in becoming a credentialed teacher or becoming a substitute teacher, is to have patience and never forget your youth. Remembering your past as a young person will serve as a great guide for reaching the next generation. It’s also important to consider the background of the students, as this will help to answer a lot of questions and it will help to improve your approach to teaching.