By JAY WALSWORTH
Mineral Wells ISD Assistant Superintendent
It starts with a phone call at 6 a.m. You clear your throat to make it seem you’ve been awake for hours just waiting for the call. You answer and on the other end of the line is Substitute Coordinator Sandra McFall. It’s the call to teach the children of Mineral Wells Independent School District. And so begins a day in the life of a substitute teacher.
You never know where the call may lead you. It's possible you’ll be asked to teach 5- and 6-year-olds at Lamar Elementary or 17- and 18-year-olds at Mineral Wells High School. It's important to get there early, no matter what campus, in order to prepare for the day.
You go to the office, check in, get a key and go to your room. Don’t forget to take your sack lunch to the teacher’s workroom – you know, the one that has the ham sandwich you hastily put together as you were running out the door.
In the room, you find the lesson plan and seating chart. You find a marker that works and write your name on the board along with the assignment for the day. It’s time for your first class.
The most difficult part of your day will be establishing a relationship with 25 students in a matter of minutes, so they can have a successful learning experience.
Some will come in late. What’s the tardy policy? Some will come in and want to do everything except what was planned. What’s the teacher’s classroom management plan?
Everyone is seated; you introduce yourself and begin to take roll. You then realize that one boy is not in his assigned seat. You ask the student why he isn’t sitting according to the seating chart. He tells you he was moved by his teacher. Was he? Maybe the teacher forgot to change it on the chart.
It’s time to begin the lesson and as you work with students during the period you notice a girl who is obviously struggling with the concept.
You go over and give her some individual instruction as the others work through the lesson. You reach into your bag of life experiences to give the girl an example that makes the concept easily understandable and then move on to check the progress of other students. As the students leave the class 45 minutes later, the girl you helped stops, smiles, shakes your hand and thanks you for helping her.
This scene will play over six more times in the day for a substitute teacher. Some experiences will be better than others. You will have times during the day when you will question why you do the job and then you will remember that girl in first period.
Mineral Wells ISD is in need of more substitute teachers who want to make a difference in children’s lives. If you are interested, please go online to www.mwisd.net and complete an application.
MWISD hires substitutes according to the needs of the district and generally in this order: degreed with a Texas teaching certification, degreed and non-degreed.
Substitute teachers are paid $65 per day. For more information, contact Jay Walsworth, assistant superintendent, or Sandra McFall, substitute coordinator, at (940) 325-6404.