So, you want to try substitute teaching?

Heh. I got my rantypants on over at Punk Rock HR today. Nick, who works in HR somewhere, posts a pretty decent comment about what to do to impress interviewers in this economy.

And then– oh, my dears— and then he says at the very end of his post:

Look into substitute teaching. In some areas it is as easy as having a bachelors degree and paying a small fee for a certificate.

What follows is my rantypants, which I totally posted over there, but THE WORLD MUST KNOW!

So, you want to try substitute teaching? Six hours of letting kids watch a movie, and then you’re home in time to catch Oprah? Sounds good, huh?

Substitute teaching is like no temp job you’ve ever had. There will be a lesson plan. Do you know how to read lesson plans? It may be a subject you are not familiar with. Can you project confidence and control in the midst of chaos? This gig involves public speaking. Lots of it. And there will be dozens of pairs of eyes, watching you, ready, willing, and able to point out every mistake.

There will be children. They are not just small adults, they are individuals in the process of learning about themselves, the world, and how to interact with it (this goes double for teenagers, who may think they are adults and even look kind of like adults).

There will be parents. They don’t care if you are just a sub. You are in charge of their child for a goodly portion of the day, and by God, if you do something they even think is a little bit out of line, you will hear about it. They will also ask you to just change their little sweetum’s grade, Sweetum didn’t mean to turn it in four weeks late without spellchecking it.

There will be other teachers. These are people who have spent anywhere from two to twelve years in graduate school, learning how to be a better, stronger, faster teacher. They have to deal with the lesson plans, the children, the parents, the administration, and the bureaucracy. 50% of teachers wash out of the profession in the first three years. These teachers? Are the survivors. Your MBA does not impress them.

These teachers are also your clients. They are the ones who will call the sub service. They will be asked if there is a specific sub they wish to have first dibs.

Did you market yourself as a professional educator, dressed for work and able to follow directions and maintain classroom discipline? Did you network, providing business cards with your name, qualifications, and sub number? Were you respectful of the front office people and thank the principal for the opportunity?

Or did you schlep in, explain how this is only until you get on your feet, sneer at the glitter and the cutout paper trees, and complain all through lunch about the quality of the cafeteria food?

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