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15 Things Admin Would Learn if They Subbed Once a Month


15 Things Admin Would Learn if They Subbed Once a Month

Once teachers move up the food chain and become administrators, it feels like they forget what it was like to be down in the teaching trenches. They hand out extra duties like candy at Halloween.

Therefore, it is a great idea to have school leaders go back into the classroom to sub for their teachers one day each month. They are sure to get a quick reminder about the teaching dilemmas we face. Here are sixteen lessons administrators will learn when they are in the driver’s seat of the action-packed classroom that teachers navigate every day.

1. Taking attendance on time is harder than it seems.

Of course, it is. When we have twenty to forty students simultaneously turning in (or making excuses as to why they didn’t turn in) their homework, asking to go to the bathroom, or requesting the teacher’s attention, attendance doesn’t seem quite as important. Principals will get that dreaded reminder from their office managers too.

2. Morning announcements should be shorter and to the point.

We are just saying that when the entire lunch menu is read by a student in the tone of Ferris Bueller’s teacher, students become a tad bit disruptive. Announcements should be short and to the point.

3. Kids sent to the office should not be sent back to the room after five minutes with a Jolly Rancher.

Administration will soon learn that the behavior of some kids impedes the learning of others. That’s a huge problem. Giving them Sweet Tarts and a hug creates a reason to misbehave, not the other way around.

4. A strict teacher dress code is stupid.

Some administrators expect teachers to dress in professional work attire such as dresses, heels and suits. If they were to teach, they would experience the same classroom calisthenics our jobs demand daily. Then, they would encourage jeans and tennis shoes.

5. It is hard to hold it.

By “it” we mean our pee. When principals are forced to do the “Pee, Pee Dance” while teaching a class, new bathroom coverage policies will be implemented immediately.

6. Teachers know more about teaching and learning than school leaders.

Who knows more about playing basketball: Michael Jordan or the team manager? Pretty sure only the former can dunk. Sometimes school leaders like to portray that they are experts at the ins and outs of teaching. Let them navigate a scripted math lesson for a day with as many disruptions as the day is long, and then we’ll talk.

7. Recess is absolutely necessary.

Micromanaging principals often require teachers to limit recess time in favor of more academic rigor. Teachers hate that buzzword, by the way. After subbing a few hours, they will understand that there can be no rigor without recess. Everyone needs a break. Bring on the monkey bars.

8. Following a lesson plan is impossible.

Administrators will soon rethink their obsession with lesson planning after trying to follow one for an entire day. That fire drill in the middle of the lesson or the fact that the whole class isn’t “getting it” might require the plan to be completely reworked.

9. Teacher evaluations have been done all wrong.

After teaching in actual classrooms, school leaders will begin to realize how hard it is to keep All students on task, All the time. Heck, sometimes it’s hard to keep any on task. Positive evaluations will be given more readily when they see that it is not as easy as we make it look.

10. We need our prep time to be free of unnecessary paperwork.

Let’s not sugarcoat it for our admin. Allocate them the same duties teachers have on their prep. Have them grade the essays, answer texts and emails, and try to get their lesson plans and student RTI forms filled in. Maybe then they will lighten up on our pre and post-conference requirements.

11. Parents can be, well, crazy.

After listening to a few parent requests at the classroom door, principals will think twice about siding with parents. They will see that some parents think their child is the only child in the classroom.

12. The room’s temperature is important.

Why is the office area always a climate-controlled refreshing oasis while our classrooms are a sticky, sweaty mess? The many bodies that teachers have in their rooms and all the running around we do necessitate a comfortable temperature in our surroundings, as well. Teaching in a hot or frigid environment will help school leaders fill our temperature requests immediately.

13. Writing standards on the board is a waste of time.

When teachers must post every standard that they are teaching on the board, we start to wonder whom we are posting them for and why. If principals must do this, they will soon agree that it is completely unnecessary and a huge misuse of a teacher’s limited time.

14. Teachers’ jobs are more physically and mentally exhausting than those of administration.

After a day in the classroom. school leaders will crash in their Lazy Boy chairs, soak their aching feet and thank their lucky stars that they can retreat to their offices the next day. Maybe now their claims of teachers needing self-care will not ring hollow.

15. Technical problems need to be fixed STAT.

A computer tech should be on hand to handle tech issues IMMEDIATELY. This is the number one stressor for teachers, and distance and hybrid learning have pushed the stress through the roof. Teachers should not have to be the tech experts.

16. Teachers are frickin magicians and should be always treated with respect.

After teaching in the classroom several times, administrators will quickly learn what we knew all along. We are amazing!

Allowing administrators to really experience firsthand what we do daily will give them the knowledge they need to build a supportive and positive teaching and learning environment. They will not only understand us; they will believe us. Finally!

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15 Things Admin Would Learn if They Subbed Once a Month

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Angela Barton

Veteran Member

Angela is a veteran kindergarten teacher. When she’s not teaching or writing, she can be found thrifting or spending time with her husband, daughters and two Maltese dogs.

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