Lesson Learned: My Day as a Substitute Teacher

As many of you know, I’m on a self-proclaimed “quest” to find my calling. (I thought that sounded better than, “I’m trying to figure out what to  do with my life…”) I’ve always thought about teaching. I taught a preschool Sunday school class for years and loved it! Before any of you think, “Does she not realize teaching preschool at church is nothing like teaching all day in a classroom?“, relax. I know. However, I do think certain aspects of teaching those preschoolers came in handy as my first day as a substitute teacher.

I had the opportunity to get on the sub list at the private K-12 school where my dad teaches, so I thought it might ease me into the idea of substituting. I was actually pretty excited when I got the email assigning me to my first class. My first day was going to be a Friday, but not just any Friday. I soon found out that it was also the school’s coming-home week *insert panic*. This sounded like a recipe for disaster to me. My science background makes me a researcher at heart, so I spent hours the day before looking up “Survival Guides” and tips for substitute teachers. Most of what I found was geared more towards elementary school, but I was assigned to students ranging from 8th to 11th grade *insert more panic*. The biggest take away from my “research” was that students could smell fear, so I needed to put on my poker face if I was going to make it through the first day.

On Friday morning, I walked into the classroom and read through the instructions the teacher left. I am so grateful she left a detailed set of plans, it made my life much easier! The warning bell rang, and my heart stopped as students began filing into the room. As ridiculous as it sounds, all I could think was, “Don’t let them smell your fear, don’t let them smell your fear.” I tried to sound calm and confident as I introduced myself to the class, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t mention my dad teaching there in hopes that they’d take it easy on me. Whatever the reason, the class was very quiet and stayed focused the whole time! This seemed to be a trend, as each class continued to be very well behaved (not that I’m complaining). The last class of the day was the only time I had an issue, but one of my new years resolutions was to be more positive. So, on the bright side, it gave me the opportunity to handle disruptive students. It also made me realize that I may need a little more practice with confrontation… Overall, I had a great experience! The other teachers were extremely helpful, and made me feel completely at ease. I still don’t know if teaching is what I want to do, but I think continuing to substitute teach will help me make a decision. I believe that teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world- to inspire the future generations. That’s a lot of responsibility! Teachers can have a major impact on students’ interests, and I want to make sure it’s something I really want to do before I commit to such an important role.

So, what did I learn? Almost everything is going to be scary and uncomfortable the first time you try it. I have this made up idea that if I’m meant to do something, I won’t be uncomfortable or nervous or scared. This just isn’t true! I think my head already knows that- it’s my heart that still needs to learn. My dad once told me, “It’s a long way from your heart to your brain.” Sometimes it takes time to teach your heart something that your mind already knows. The only way I’m ever going to find out what I really want to do in life is to suck it up and try new things. I’ve made this another one of my goals this year, no matter how anxious or uncomfortable it makes me. Another thing that I’m learning during this season of life is that God is in control. As much as I want to be the one in control, in the end it’s always going to be God. It’s something that I have to pray about and remind myself of everyday. My challenge for not only myself but also for you all this week is to try something new. I’d love to hear some of the new things you guys try, so feel free to leave a comment below! Here’s to putting our trust in Him and continuing to get outside of our comfort zones! Have a great week everyone!

*I’ve linked where to purchase some of the items in my pictures down below.

Marble Agenda


Water Bottle

MacBook Case

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