Say the word “school” and the first words that come to mind are: teachers, students, classrooms, homework and the inevitable tests. One word that should come to mind, however, is “substitutes.”
Donna Calhoun, a certified substitute teacher, is a regular at Oxford High School.
“I am assigned duties everyday,” Calhoun said. “I only substitute at OHS.”
Another substitute teacher, Jamye Waters, says she substitutes almost every day, solely at Oxford High.
“The past two months I missed three days,” Waters said.
Calhoun receives her assignments and instructions by e-mail and Waters says, “Ms. Barnes calls me at 6:30 a.m.”
However, both Calhoun and Waters substitute for any class with an absent teacher, but Calhoun’s favorite is social studies, the subject Waters’s has her degree in.
Sophomore Jane Wu believes that substitutes are a good thing.
“Most kids don’t have that bored look like they normally do,” Wu said.
Wu says the substitutes she has had “generally like to talk.”
“We sometimes have some pretty interesting conversations,” Wu said.
Waters has substituted for 12 years. Prior to substituting she was a teacher for 10 years. Waters first substituting job at Oxford High was filling in for Mississippi Studies teacher Steve Herring when he had cancer.
Waters was surprised when she saw Herring because she knew him from a previous teaching job in Texas.
“It was a renewed friendship,” Waters said about Herring.
“We were very good friends.”
To become a substitute teacher, Calhoun says people must obtain a license from the Mississippi Department of Education.
Calhoun decided to become a substitute teacher because she believes “substitute teaching provides a teacher with a variety of experiences from all domains.”
“I am expected to maintain discipline and provide quality instruction for the students,” Calhoun said about substituting.
Waters says her job involves mostly following the teacher’s instructions. She feels that “the more organized the teacher is, the better her day goes.”
“The best part about substituting is that I have the opportunity to meet all students enrolled at OHS,” Calhoun said. “I have no set assigned group of students.”