Student Manipulation of Substitutes

Xochitl Lara, writer

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We’ve all had that day that our teacher is absent, and there is a substitute present.

Although the teacher is gone, that does not mean you have a free class. Many students’ instant urge is to assume the rules are demolished. This is unfair and disrespectful to the substitute teacher.


Ignoring the rules may result in insulting the substitute by making them feel disrespected or ignored. It may also result in facing consequences, whether the teacher is there or not.  You may not necessarily care, but the substitute has every right to notify your teacher if any inappropriate, or disrespectful behavior occurs.


When asked if substitutes deserve the same respect and attention as teachers, Anthony Lara, a seventh grader at Corbett Jr High, says, “Yes, because they are in charge… but, some kids are mean and don’t listen to them.”


This seems to be very true. Substitute teachers are adults, they are in charge, and should receive the same courteous behavior the students give to their teachers.


Although students seem to be fearless of authority most of the time, there are substitute teachers that do not tolerate the disrespectful behavior. They may be intimidating, or loud, or even the slightest bit moody, to where students do not want to push their buttons. Some substitute teachers make it clear that they will not be taken advantage of or manipulated.


Their expectations, personality, or rules may be completely different as opposed from the teacher. Does this influence the student’s behavior?

“Yes,” says Cheryl Frawley, a substitute teacher in the SCUC ISD. “They are not fooled and the students will stop.”


This seems to be proven everyday. When a teacher seems gullible, or vulnerable, the students are not afraid. When the substitute teacher is serious, or strict, the students get the hint that they are not playing around.


Aside from the students who have the natural instinct to ignore an unusual authority figure, there are students out there that do respect and obey the rules and expectations of their substitute. This benefits everyone.


This definitely makes the day run smoother and keeps everyone on task as well. The substitutes appreciate the students who are still aware of the rules and the manners they usually display to their teachers.


“Those kids are very cooperative and make my job easier,” says Frawley. “Their teacher will appreciate it too.”
The substitute will have no problems, the teacher will receive a report from the substitute that the student, or class was well behaved and obedient. The class will most likely be rewarded, and their teacher will be happy and grateful!

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Student Manipulation of Substitutes