Career advice from my son

Last year, when I suggested to my youngest son, who was still in high school at the time, that I might get my emergency certification and become a substitute teacher, he laughed. I’m not talking about a “yea, right laugh” full of sarcasm, I’m talking about a full-blown belly laugh like it was the best joke he heard in two years.

When he was done laughing and I helped him back to his feet, he asked where I was thinking of subbing. “My school or somewhere else?”

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Now when you’re a parent, you’re never quite in on the jokes. Sometimes you’re even the butt of the joke. When you mix my son with his brother and sister, I usually have the “laughter bulls-eye” aimed directly at me. The trick is to know what you are at any point in time. In this situation, I have to admit that I was lost. 

I knew he was laughing at me, but his demeanor seemed to be a reflection of the challenging job. “Dad, do you realize how tough subs have it. There’s no way you want to be a substitute teacher.”

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I get it. I agree with him. Substitute teachers have an incredibly tough job. Student behavior, the craziness of the schedule, the stress all make it challenging.

Now who knows where my career in the latter stages will take me. I could ramp up, I could ramp down, I could go in a million different directions. I can’t see teaching in the cards in the near future, at least not at the high school level, but the back-and-forth, the give-and-take with my son, well err, that was well worth it, even if I am the cause of his laughter.

I’ll take that any day.

27 thoughts on “Career advice from my son

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    1. I love that line Bruce. I’m pretty sure my son was laughing at me, but that’s okay, I laughed recently when he asked to come from college for the weekend. Oh, I went to get him. Let me restate that, I jumped at the chance to get him, but it was still fun laughing at him at first. Ha, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My son moved to the Bay Area to be with his girlfriend and he first got a job as a long-term sub at Richmond High, which is in a very poor, rough area. He was teaching English Lit, but couldn’t get the kids under control or any parental help. Another teacher told him to use detention as punishment. It was working for him until an administrator came into his class and told the kids in Spanish that they didn’t have to listen to my son or go to detention.


      1. He was into being popular with the students. My son doesn’t speak Spanish, so he had an aide who did. She told him what the administrator said. My son quit shortly after that.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, administrator support is so key, especially in that kind of situation. I’m not a teacher, but I’ve picked that up from years of watching my wife. If you don’t have the support you need, you’ll never be able to be a success in the class. I’m sure it was hard for your son, but good for him for making that decision. It sound like things turned out well for him!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m sure you know a lot about this topic if your wife is a teacher. I’m glad my son left the sub job. He’s with a small company that he loves that helps creative people get their projects off the ground and to the public.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this! His honest response — here, there, anywhere – it’s a tough job, Dad. How sweet that he’s that aware AND protective of you at the same time. And for the record, I think you’d be an awesome teacher…sub or otherwise. Don’t make me delve into the reasons why….I’ll end up hijacking your blog post! 😉😎😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, protective as he laughed at me on the ground! Ha, ha. No, I agree with you. I liked that he was concerned about me. Of course, when he asked to come home for the weekend a few weeks ago, I reminded him of this very moment. “Remember when you laughed at me, who’s laughing now.” Yes, yes, I switched around my schedule so that I could pick him up, but you get the idea. As far as teaching goes, I’ve helped out at the Higher Ed level. I’m not so sure about high school or elementary. I’m not sure I would have the patience. Ha, ha, yes that P word comes up again. Ha, ha. Thank you though for the pep talk!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I tutored in middle and high school- so challenging. Now doing home school with the grands in only 1-2 subjects is doable and much more pleasant. If I was ever going to teach I think my best fit would have been higher ed. I have this presumptive thought that at least the majority of the learners there actually want to be in that setting!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One kids book that always stuck out with me is Miss Nelson’s Day Off, which is about an unruly class who had a substitute teacher (or so they thought).

    Being a teacher is a tough job, much less a substitute teacher – so kudos to you for the aspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I did some subbing, years ago, before teaching full-time. Subbing is a most difficult job! The little ones are adorable, though a handful, and the older students enjoy testing at every turn. With that said, it can be a way to earn a few bucks and connect with the energy of youth. Best wishes!

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  6. Your son is hilarious but he is so right!!! Subs have it rough and I look up to them, I could not do it. I love kids but these kids will try my patience and going to jail does not sound like the place for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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