Is your teacher responsible?
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A substitute may be a temporary stand-in for your kids teacher but what they see on a daily basis can tell you whether he's getting a decent education.  As a long-time substitute I immediately know what kind of teacher I'm subbing for the second I walk through the door.


A neat and well-organized classroom speaks volumes about a teacher.  If everything has a place and the teacher's desk isneat and organized, chances are their lessons and classroom management are the same.  When I walk into a class and it looks like a tornado cam through there I know I'm in for a rough day.  The students not only lack structure, they resist it, making it nearly impossible to get anything done.  Be wary of a teacher with a messy classroom.

Small Talk

Even when I'm not engaged in a conversation with a teacher, what I overhear tells me a lot about their priorities.  Teachers that are gossipy and overly concerned with their personal lives while they're at work typically leave little room to focus on their students.  Similarly, showing too much interest in a child's home life can indicate problems too, although teachers need to be aware of serious home-related situations.  The best teachers show empathy without getting too personal and talk about their students as if they were their own children.  Their concern is focused more on academics and how they can best help their students rather than what is going on at home.

The Blame Game

Accountability is something every parent should look for in a teacher.  While this does not excuse a child's poor behavior, a teacher that repeatedly blames parents for student's low test scores and bad attitude rarely looks at the part she plays.  If they have trouble accepting responsibility it's usually reflected in their work.  They likely have trouble meeting educational standards and their students fall behind consistently.  What's worse is that when these teachers are desperate they take pot shots at parents by noting how so-and-so's mom is an alcoholic or that daddy is uses physical punishment.

Lesson Plans

Every once in a while I'll walk into a class that has no lesson plan.  This isn't always an indicator of trouble since emergencies do happen but a teacher that habitually "forgets" to make plans or always leaves a hastily written "plan" shows little concern for what goes on in the classroom when he's out.  An absence is not a free day for students or teachers and not leaving plans is a lost day of crucial instruction before state testing.  Dedicated teachers always have plans and I've even seen some sick teachers come in extra early, leave their plans, and go home to rest.

What characteristics do you think a great teacher has?  Comment below!