Institute Blog
“Are you in our class today?”

“Are you in our class today?”

by Kandace Ortega, On-Site Substitute, Hilltop Children’s Center

“Are you in our class today?”

“No, today I’m in River room, but I’ll be in your class next week!”


This is a conversation I have with different children several times a week as the onsite sub. I work in all of the classrooms, so all of the kids around Hilltop know me. Having an onsite sub isn’t a universal luxury that all centers employ, but it is one that is an investment in the center and the children we serve.


We all know that consistency is key for children to feel comfortable enough to learn and grow, and that oftentimes transitions can be nerve wracking for them. Last year a child moved from a class where she had been all year and formed relationships with the educators and other children, into a class where she didn’t know anyone yet. I had worked in her original room several times before the transition, so we already had a relationship. After the transition, I would see her when we were on the playground at the same time and she would talk to me and hang around with me. We talked about her old class and how she was getting used to her new class, among other things. The whole next week, her second week in the new room, I was in her class while an educator was out of town. Having that sense of familiarity with an educator seemed to really help her to feel comfortable in her new class, as she was visibly less nervous than she had been during her first week. Now she has been in there for over a year and loves it, but having a sense of familiarity at the beginning helped her adjust.

Having an onsite sub also allows educators to get consistent planning time and coverage when they need it. When an educator is unexpectedly sick, the onsite sub is the first person called to cover for them and then the rest of the schedule can fall into place. When an educator has a planned absence for an extended period of time, the onsite sub will step in to cover for that whole time and give the class a sense of consistency so the kids, educators, and families know who and what to expect while the regular educator is out.Kandace

And even when there isn’t extra coverage needed, I get to do some of the nitty gritty stuff that educators don’t always have the time for. I send out a log that educators get to add to in order to request different jobs that need to be done, such as making play dough or filing documentation; little things that need to be done but there aren’t enough hours in the day for busy educators to complete.

It’s very rewarding for me to get to see all of the children in different classrooms as they age up and make new connections. Because I’m not anchored down to one specific class and have been in this role for several school years, I’ve seen the children in different classes with different peers and teachers. It’s a lot of fun and very inspiring to see them learn new things and watch them grow. I also get to grow as an educator, too, as I see all of the teachers working with so many children and families.

All in all, having the support of an onsite sub can help a center run a lot more smoothly and be a great service to the children, families, and educators. It offers peace of mind to the educators that need coverage and the families that have their children in our care that there will always be someone their child knows, trusts, and likes in their classroom. It also offers peace of mind to the rest of the teaching team and admin that they won’t have to scramble to find someone, or multiple someones, to step in, and this helps the whole center run more cohesively so that we may better serve the children in our care.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kandace Ortega is the On-Site Substitute at Hilltop Children’s Center, where she has worked since 2014.[/author_info] [/author]