OPINION

Opinion: My new side hustle — substitute teaching in Salt Lake City

Oct 8, 2022, 9:00 AM | Updated: Nov 16, 2022, 2:44 pm

First day on the job. Photo, Amanda Dickson

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — I don’t know which made me more nervous,  the first time I ran the board at KSL NewsRadio or my first time substitute teaching in charge of a room full of 5th graders.

I know what you’re thinking. “Amanda – they’re precious at that age. What could you possibly fear?” My brain knows you’re right, but this week as I began my new side hustle of substitute teaching in the Salt Lake City School District, I felt humbled by how little I know.

Here’s what I do know:

  • I love the children, and I really want to be there,
  • I want to help them in any way I can,
  • learning from the children is a real possibility,
  • their intelligence and already-developed skills in things like PowerPoint blow me away, and
  • their teachers are some of the most incredible people on earth.

I got through my first gig with the 5th graders with no injuries, to them or me. Whew!

Learning about teaching kids with special needs

My second job was to help with resource students at a middle school. I helped raise two children with special needs and I thought I would be a little more prepared for this one.

Wrong!

The paraprofessionals who had worked with these seven kids for years were inspiring to watch. They unstuck the kids when the kids got stuck. They protected themselves in case a child dealing with strong emotions tried to hit them.  And when the kids screamed, they didn’t flinch no matter how loud the screaming.

The love they so obviously felt for these kids brought me to tears as soon as I reached my car. I pictured the love that was shown to my own children when I wasn’t there, and I cried all the way to the freeway.

My substitute teaching experience

I’ve taught three times so far, and “taught” is probably not the right word. I am with them. I follow the teacher’s instructions, which have been impressively detailed.

It’s obvious how much these teachers care for their students. They want to make sure I do a good job while I’m there, and I try. Yesterday I had my first high school students at the Career and Technical Education Center. What a place! The students investigated ethnic studies, and we had a really good conversation before they did their assignment.

We talked about Columbus Day and why many states have chosen to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day instead. We talked about why they chose to take the class, whether they saw themselves in the curriculum, and how they feel about what they were learning.

I loved every minute of it.

Why I’ve chosen to be a substitute teacher

I wish I could tell you that I’m doing this out of a pure desire to help at a time when teachers, including substitutes, are desperately needed. That is part of it.

But the cost of feeding my family is squeezing me like it is for many of you. I looked around and wondered what I could do to earn more money, and thoughts of teaching would not leave me alone.

So here I am, going to different schools with different aged children as often as I can. If you are looking for a little extra work and have a love for children, I highly recommend it. I see postings for substitute teachers go unfilled every day. There is definitely a need for you, for all of us.

More from Utah’s Morning News host Amanda Dickson:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Opinion

Blue-collar influencers...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Blue-collar influencers are making BANK on TikTok

Blue-collar influencers like plumbers and construction workers are raking in the cash. Some are earning high six figures!

19 hours ago

Jack Walpole stays cool by sitting in his chair in the water as he and his family enjoy the day at ...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Fisherman catches the Big One!

James Kane has been magnet fishing in Queens since the pandemic. His tireless work paid off this week, when he reeled in a safe.

19 hours ago

The lawsuit was filed in Tallahassee minutes after a Disney World oversight board appointed by DeSa...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: Disney debt

Financial advisors will warn you against going deep into debt. But sometimes you have to. It’s a part of life. And so is going to Disney.

1 day ago

It looks like GenZ is getting tired of online dating....

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The decline of online dating

Gen Z is getting tired of online dating. What's next?

1 day ago

It’s the first annual Miss AI Pageant. Each of the contestants is so beautiful they could stop tr...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: The Miss AI Pageant

The women are artificial. The prize money is real.

5 days ago

tuesday movie poster next to ksl movie show host steve salles...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Tuesday’ is a movie you need to experience for yourself

In this KSL Movie Show review, we explore "Tuesday," which personifies death as a talking macaw.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Opinion: My new side hustle — substitute teaching in Salt Lake City