Thursday, September 2, 2021


I've been scrambling. 

A "vacant" class is one in which there is no teacher assigned. Because of this, a sub who arrives has nothing but a room, a class full of students, and a class period to fill. This is why I was trying to avoid covering a vacant class at the start of this school year. As you know by now, I failed at this.

It took a few days to get my feet under me. First, I had those class periods to fill. What to do? Teachers who also teach the same subject let me know what we should be covering. 

Once lesson plans were established, then I could focus on getting some things for the class. Books and seating charts and staplers and dry erase markers and papers don't miraculously show up. Full-time teachers have planning days to get this stuff ready. Subs in vacant classes have to figure it all out on the fly while they have bodies in the classroom.

It took me a couple days to create Google Classrooms for the classes. It took a couple more to get access to the attendance/grading software and then set up their gradebook for the year. 

When I finally set up the gradebook, the students who had not been on campus could finally access Google Classroom for the class. (I had the kiddos in class add themselves to the class. Adding in the attendance software automatically uploaded the other students.) 

A couple days after I got that all set up, I got an email from a student who had been absent since pretty much the first day. 

Anaya apologized for not emailing sooner (which she couldn't have done as she only just got access to my name via Google Classroom) and for missing class. Her brother has Covid, so she's on quarantine. And she was worried about keeping up with her schoolwork. 


We're supposed to keep all work on Google Classroom for students in just that predicament. And, considering the circumstances, those students are afforded extra time to get things in.

My reply: 

Yikes, I'm so sorry. Don't worry. I will be posting all work to Google Classroom, so whatever we do in class you can do from home. (The assignments aren't posted yet, but they will be by the end of the week.)

To which she replied: 

Okay thank you! I'll try my best to get everything done and turned in on time. Have a good day!

Turned in on time... Considering how far behind I was in getting things posted, there was no way I was holding her to a higher standard. 

I got caught up on grading by Friday of last week. Anaya has an A. Full credit for everything assigned. There are kiddos that haven't missed a day who have Fs. 


  1. Anaya is amazing. If only all the students were like her, your job would be so easy.

    1. I know, right. There are many like her. They just don't make for interesting blog fodder most days.

  2. Appreciated the glimpse into the "behind the scenes" of some of the little details. I've never taught, and had no clue. Alana

  3. Hi Liz - the way of the world ... some people are responsible to others and to themselves ... others ....??? I'm glad she has such good grades. Have a good weekend - Hilary

  4. I am amazed at how you cope with the chaos of substituting. I hope those who are running the school appreciate all you are able to accomplish.

    1. It is one of those jobs where a certain sort of chaos is expected. It's one of the reasons it has a high turnover rate.

  5. For every one who does anything they can to not do their work, there is one who does everything they can to get the work done. I'm pretty sure it's those kids who save teacher's sanity!!

  6. Anya sounds more responsible than a lot of adults.

    1. There are a lot of good kids out there. I don't write about them much as they don't usually make for good blog stories.


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