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Kelly Education is proud to highlight the work of our talented substitute teachers. Terry and Dale Gallmann are a retired couple who met when they were just 12 years old. They are known as "The Dynamic Duo" for the Aiken County School District. They share about their experiences and offer inspiration to new substitute teachers.
Why did you become a substitute teacher?
Dale is a retired engineer (nationally certified fire and explosion investigator) who decided that he didn't like retirement—and wanted to have a plan each day. He always liked school and thinks learning should be fun. He says, "If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong."
Terry has a master's degree in education and just retired after 31 years as full time teacher. She is certified in several states to teach kindergarten - 8th grade.
Both of them chose the path of substitute teacher because of the flexibility that allows them to spend time with their grandchildren.
Terry likes to take on long-term assignments because she uses her skills to provide structure and continuity for the students. Most recently she taught ELA to 3rd graders.
Dale is also working in a long-term assignment as a reading specialist for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders. These students are high risk and need support to improve their reading proficiency and comprehension.
Watch this video to learn more about the Gallmanns.
What do you like most about being a substitute teacher?
Dale: I love to make the connection with the students. It's so worth it to see the light bulb come on. During my planning period, I leave the door open. Kids come in to read with me or just to talk.
Terry: As a long-term substitute teacher, I can move the students along in a meaningful way. I love connections, getting to know the kids, and moving them forward. As a former teacher, I need to see growth and make a difference to feel successful.
What kind of support do you get from the school?
Dale: I'm not "just a substitute". The school treats me like I am part of the team. I get tremendous support from our principal. My mentor is the teacher who had my classroom then moved into fourth grade. I also work with the teachers across the hall or next to my room. I'm also right next door to the school nurse—I can't tell you how many times I've sent students to see her. It's a very supportive environment. The key is to ask questions and be open to conversation.
What advice would you give to new substitute teachers?
Terry: If you keep an open mind, you may discover that you enjoy doing things that you never thought you could do. It can be really rewarding to try something new. I would have never guessed that I'd enjoy teaching math to middle school students via virtual/remote technology. It was my favorite assignment.
Dale: Bring a good attitude. You represent adults. You want to be the change that you want to see in the world. You only get what you put in.
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