Changing the Culture around Substitute Teaching

Robin Williams as Peter Pan in the movie “Hook” uses “Chemistry Substitute Teacher” as an insult!  This is funny because in part, it is true!  In the past, Substitute Teachers have had a bad reputation.  Our generation of Substitute Teachers is able to change this in our culture!  By being excellent Substitute Teachers and by our attitude and the way we talk about our profession, we can change the perception of the profession of Substitute Teaching.  It is time!

When we tell someone we are a Substitute Teacher, instead of them asking if we want to become a real teacher, we want them to say, “Oh, my daughter has a favourite Substitute Teacher who comes when her teacher is away – she loves her!”  This is our goal and it is a very attainable goal!  It comes down to two things.

First, we need to be excellent.  We need to do our job so that the children enjoy their day and learn.  Next, we need to talk about our profession with respect so that others do too.  We need to let people know that it is an excellent profession where we get to make a difference in the lives of many children, helping them when their teacher is away.

In Ontario, you need six years of university, with good marks to become a Substitute Teacher and then only the best are hired to public boards.  Substitute Teachers are the cream of the crop!  It’s time to give ourselves the respect we deserve and to expect it from others!  It’s time to change the cultural norm around the noble profession of Substitute Teaching!


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