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Shawna has been an excellent substitute teacher the past year. When she is not subbing, you will find her volunteering at many schools. We appreciate the number of jobs she takes on as well as going out of her comfort zone and subbing at all levels this school year. Even though she may not be able to sub each time she is contacted we can always get a hold of her. Thank you for all that you do Shawna!

Tell us about yourself and your family.

My husband and I have lived in the country in Eudora, KS since 2012. We have a 6th grade son Wyatt & a 2nd grade daughter Maddilyn and 2 dogs. We love to watch our KSU Wildcats, Chiefs & Royals play. In my spare time I love to create things, paint, sew, read, coach & cheer on my kids at their sporting games! I was an insurance agent with my husband pre-children, and I have been a stay-at-home mom the last 11 years while my husband Ty continues to run our health insurance agency from home

Why did you become a substitute teacher?

I became a substitute teacher in November of 2021 because I saw the need for good substitutes at my children’s school. I was volunteering in the library and art room frequently and thought I could sub for these classes! It helped that I was in these classes while they were teaching, so I could learn the way the teachers taught & do things. It definitely gave me a great start! I really felt a vested interest in being a sub who genuinely wanted to help the kids learn and grow. My first assignment was in my favorite class, the library. Our librarian even gave me the sayings she uses in her classes for different things they do so I could be consistent with the kids. I eventually branched out to the other specials at my kids’ elementary school and then as a grade level teacher. This year with my son in middle school I have even started subbing there because he asked me to, and I figured I had better do it while he still wants to be seen in public with me! This has been completely different than elementary school as there is more freedom, movement and responsibility for the students. I do, however, enjoy knowing the kids my children are growing up with.

What are some of the most memorable experiences of substitute teaching?

My favorite things about being a substitute are when kids see you in the hall and say “Hi” or “Yay, it’s Mrs. Vetter” and give you a big hug. This is at elementary school of course not middle! I have teachers tell me their class is so excited to have me for a sub. That makes my day! I really love connecting with the children and try to make it exciting and it is not a bad thing they don’t have their regular teacher there. Of course, I do get the occasional “you don’t know how to do that shortcut on the computer”, or “That’s not how our teacher does it.” I laugh and go on.

What advice would you give substitute teachers to have a successful day?

It can be very scary and overwhelming to walk into a new school or classroom for anyone, especially if you are trying to fill in for their teacher who the students are accustomed to. I always bring my favorite couple of books that I am currently reading and plan to read those to the class. I think reading out loud is very important for the students as well as making a connection with them. It can also bring the children’s focus back on you and be used as redirection if needed. Sometimes all it takes to turn a class around is really getting into character and being silly with a good book!

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