ST. PETERSBURG – Linda Mobley had a big surprise in her email inbox. An email that read: “You have been nominated as best teacher of the year for Blanton Elementary School” made her think that someone was playing a joke on her until she saw that it came from the Pinellas County School Board.
“I was touched with joy and amazement that I was chosen from all the many substitute teachers that taught here. It’s wonderful to be recognized for your work. No matter the challenge, I was there. The staff was very supportive of us, and they were happy when we came to work,” said Mobley.
Unfortunately, many students take advantage of substitute teachers. They do not treat them as professionals or with the respect that their permanent teachers command. So they make it a day of fun, acting out and not doing their schoolwork. Mobley has experience this firsthand.
“I wish teachers and substitute teachers could get more respect and cooperation from parents and students. It would make a huge difference in the classroom, and the morale of teachers would increase, she stated.
When Mobley first started substituting she had no idea how difficult it would be. She experienced a first grader telling her that she hated her and was going to kill her; objects and curse words hurled at her and even a student tried to set her shirt on fire with a lighter.
Mobley has since resigned as a substitute teacher, but her whole experience was not bad.
“I will miss all the students who wanted to learn. Those who were respectful and cooperative, I wish there were more students like that,” she related.
Unfortunately those few students who cared were not enough to counter the disrespect and threats she experience daily.
“I’m not trying to go to jail. I did my best everyday. I enjoyed teaching, but the behavior was too much to continue with. It’s unfortunate that many of our classrooms are filled with stress and it’s more like a combat zone. This is not a good atmosphere for learning,” Mobley said.
Mobley counted on the power of prayer to get her through each day.
“I did a lot of praying to survive each day that I taught. I saw other teachers doing the same even though we are not allowed to. But we know that we can say it silently and have it in our heart and it will not offend anyone,” she said.
Even though June was the last time she’ll step into classroom, Mobley continues to care for the youth. “I pray for our students that they will do better and take their education serious.”
Congratulations for all of your hard work and sacrifice!