To All Those Team-Players Out There:
I might argue that in some aspects being a substitute requires the team-player element more-so than the teacher. Whether it be multiple districts, schools, or classrooms, I am constantly finding myself to be the “team-player.” I am regularly playing the role of the teacher, in their absence, and I am required to work as a positive and enduring member of the classroom, the school, the district, the educational sphere, the whatever-you-wanna-call-it… Some days I am the pep-rally-er, the fire-drill escort, the field-trip chaperone, the lunchroom usher, the student shepherd, the hallway guide, the student-body guard, the advice giver, the tardy sweeper, the intermediary peacemaker, the breaker-upper of fights, the detention supervisor, the super-attendant of computer labs, the bus duty guru, and the list can go on and on. Other days I am simply Sam, Mr. Sam, or Mr. Travis. Somedays I am "Mr. Spiderman." Most days I am just a substitute. I have worn many hats and I look forward to trying on some more.
This one time, for instance, I unknowingly had to accompany a whole pod of 7th graders on a fieldtrip. I didn’t know there would be a fieldtrip that day, so I was ill-prepared. I didn’t know where we were going and I didn’t know the field-trip protocol. But because I was acting as a member of the pod that day, – a team-player – I picked myself up from the depths of the impromptu anxiety I was having and enjoyed the ride. It was a lovely day after all, and a pleasant experience overall.
Another time, I was a part of a spur-of-the-moment restorative justice circle for a class of which I had subbed for a week prior. I had left some feedback that remarked on how poor the students had acted and that they had shown me little respect. Never had I been a part of the restorative justice ceremonies that often take place in this school, but I made it work. I was given apologetic responses on behalf of certain students’ behavior, and I gave students an understanding of how their past-actions made me feel. In the end, all felt restored and justice had been served in a dining room setting where each member left more full of integrity than when they had come in.
As a final role to end this post on, I once played an unusual version of dodgeball whilst subbing for a gym-teacher-coach-person. I don’t remember ever getting any kids “out”, but I do remember (being the team-player that I am) sacrificing myself constantly to not allow the group of Fortnite-obsessed youngins to be pummeled by the squad of unremitting 6th grade girls. I believe I spent the majority of that game sitting idly after being thumped by every cushioned ball in the game’s circulation.
If this is not what a team-player is, then I don’t know who I am.