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John Labrosky became a substitute teacher after retiring as parole officer with the state of Pennsylvania.
He earned a spot in our Substitute Spotlight Series after the principal at Mid Valley Elementary Center contacted us to share that John went above and beyond when a computer glitch had an entire class of third graders miss their bus.
He was returning his keys to the office at the end of his day when he learned what happened. He offered to stay until the last student was dismissed to a parent. Some of the children were scared and he made them feel safe. That's going the extra mile!
The following interview was adapted for clarity and grammar.
Why did you decide to become a substitute teacher?
I started a handyman business to keep busy after I retired, but managing a business became too much as my customer base grew quickly. I wanted a change. A friend suggested that I consider becoming a substitute teacher because I've always been good with kids.
I thought I needed a degree in education, (but in my district in Pennsylvania), the requirements were just that I needed a four year degree and to pass a background check.
Listen to John's advice for those considering substitute teaching.
What’s your secret to success? What advice do you have for a new substitute teacher?
Be open. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Talk to the other teachers and ask for advice. Most of the teachers I fill in for remind me that I can check-in with their partner teacher or the teacher across the hall.
Also, go in and talk to the principal before you start. I actually went up to the school ahead of time and just did like a little tour of the school and got to know what was going to be expected of me.
What do you like best about substitute teaching?
I like actually opening up the Google Classroom and doing the lesson plan with them. It's very fulfilling for me personally to see the enjoyment, to see the kids and the smiles on their faces.
There's something about it—just gives me personal joy.
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