It's no secret that teachers are, for the most part, underpaid and underappreciated. And one teacher on TikTok, who goes by @missfirment, shared the reality of the latter after her students didn't turn in their work when a substitute teacher filled in for her while she dealt with a death in the family.
The TikTok user, whose real name is Lexie, shared in her video that after she took a bit of time off work, she left a simple assignment for her various classes to complete in her absence. However, the vast majority of Lexie's eighth grade students didn't even turn anything in. Which, in turn, causes more stress for a teacher already dealing with enough outside of work and school.
A teacher says her students don't turn in work when there's a substitute.
In her video, Lexie explains that "this is what being a teacher in 2023 is like." She then says that, while she took some brief time off work to tend to a death in her family, she assumed her students would do the one assignment she left in her absence.
But for all of her classes, only a small number of students in each one actually did the work and turned it in. Lexie also reveals that she didn't exactly get a shining report from the substitute teacher either, which certainly doesn't help.
I get it. When there's a sub, you can't help but act out a little because it feels like a day without consequences. But, Lexie says in her TikTok video, it feels even worse than it would be otherwise because in this instance, she had to take off work due to a bigger issue than a simple cold that kept her under the weather.
"This just makes me so angry that, like, you know, you can have a death in the family and students still won't do the work," Lexie says. "And I got terrible sub notes, so that just… anxiety's high." She reveals that in some of her classes, just a few students did the assignment. In others, less than that.
Other teachers know the struggle of getting assignments after a sub is in class.
While it doesn't make Lexie's issue with her students any easier, at the very least, other teachers understand her pain. Many commenters share similar frustrations and issues.
One teacher commented, "No bc the amount of zeros I have to put in/see for students who were literally there for the whole period is… angering." Another agreed that it is "exhausting to care" as a teacher.
A substitute teacher also commented on Lexie's video to share a similar story in which the class she subbed for flat out didn't do the simple work left for them: "I subbed a class and literally all they had to do was COPY the board, matching terms to definitions and only a handful completed it within the hour."
And another eighth grade substitute teacher commented that "it's a battle" they wish parents understood. Clearly, Lexie's issue with her students is one that other teachers feel across the board.
And, short of issuing punishments for those who didn't do the work or rewards for those who do the assignments, there seems to be no easy answer. Teachers really can't seem to win no matter what they do.